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WASHINGTON–You’ve likely been hearing reports that Russian troops may be leaving the border of Ukraine. While that may or may not be true, Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) doesn’t believe that Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin will actually use those troops to invade Ukraine.

“I don’t think Putin will end up doing it because his economy is smaller than what it was when they were the Soviet Union,” said Braun, in a Thursday call with reporters. “That’s what did the Soviet Union in back decades ago.”

Braun said he believes Putin is being empowered by the weakness projected by the U.S. under the Biden administration, which has consistently threatened harsh economic sanctions, should Putin decide to invade. Still Braun pointed out that an invasion of Crimea happened under the Obama administration, indicating that he feels the Trump administration projected strength.

“He [Putin} is lapping up the attention. Remember he maneuvered into the position that gives him all the leverage when we were projecting weakness,” said Braun.

Braun said he believes Putin was paying attention to what he called the “clumsy exit from Afghanistan”.

“When you project weakness generally, the mischief makers from across the world are gonna see it, take advantage.”

But, ultimately, Braun said Putin would be playing out of his league if he took the chance and invaded Ukraine, even though he may have an alliance in Germany because of shared energy interests, namely a Russian natural gas pipeline.

“His economy is under half the size of Germany’s economy. But, Putin punches above his weight.”