WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the situation in Ukraine should be an impetus to ramp up oil and gas drilling in the United States and clear the path for exports.
"I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas," said Paul in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "And I would begin drilling in every possible, conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we can supply Europe with if it's interrupted from Ukraine."
Russia's state-owned energy company, Gazprom, has been threatening to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, citing unpaid bills from February. But the ongoing political standoff between the two countries has Europe bracing for the possibility that this could lead to gas shortages.
It has also led to increased calls within the U.S. to start exporting natural gas to Europe.
Even before the situation in Ukraine was grabbing international headlines, Senate Republicans were advocating for changes to the current ban on exporting crude oil.
Paul also criticized President Barack Obama's approach to the situation Sunday, arguing that he "hasn't projected enough strength and hasn't shown a priority to the national defense. That is something that, were I in charge, I would."
Two weeks ago, Paul said that the U.S. should maintain a "respectful" relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a remark that drew criticism from many within his own party.