Fox News host Sean Hannity felt the need to “interrupt” newly announced CPAC speaker Tulsi Gabbard’s defense of Russian “security” concerns over Ukraine, telling the former Democratic congresswoman on Monday night that President Vladimir Putin has long harbored “territorial ambitions” in the region.

With the crisis in Ukraine exponentially escalating in recent days, Fox’s coverage of the Russian march towards a full-scale invasion of its neighbor has largely been all over the map. Despite the network building its identity around the broad concept of patriotism, many Fox News hosts and commentators have painted President Joe Biden as “weak” while boasting about Putin’s strength as he prepares to invade an American ally.

Other hosts, like Tucker Carlson, have repeatedly sided with Putin over Ukraine, a U.S. ally, prompting Russian media to amplify and celebrate that coverage. And there have even been some on Fox who’ve gone so far as to claim the Ukraine crisis is a fabrication to distract from a supposed Hillary Clinton scandal.

Gabbard, who has long been accused of being an apologist for Putin and other dictators, has made frequent Fox News appearances of late to criticize the Biden response to increasing tensions. For the most part, she’s called for the United States to guarantee Russia that Ukraine will never join NATO while insisting Ukraine is not a democratic state but instead an “authoritarian” regime. Furthermore, she’s claimed Biden wants Putin to invade solely so he can impose crippling sanctions on Russia.

After Putin finally declared on Monday that he would deploy “peacekeeping” troops to Ukraine after recognizing two “breakaway” states as independent, Gabbard appeared on Hannity’s primetime show to blast Vice President Kamala Harris for promising sanctions on Russia during the recent Munich Security Conference.

“She has no concept of the cost of war nor does she have the temperament necessary to be the voice of the United States on the global stage. It’s embarrassing to see this play out,” the ex-congresswoman huffed. “She talked about deterrence and sanctions. How do you deter someone by punishing them before they do it? It’s simple. This is grade school understanding. If you say I’m going to punish you before you do something, wouldn’t a kid say, ‘Fine, I might as well as do it anyway.’”

Eventually, Hannity brought up Gabbard’s assertion that all the U.S. needs to do to deter Russian military escalation is promise Putin that NATO won’t allow Ukraine to join.

“Putin has made clear all along that their security, in his mind, is what’s at stake here. And they do not want to see U.S. and NATO troops,” she replied, prompting the conservative Fox News host to quickly push back.

“I don’t want to interrupt you but Putin also said Ukraine is not a country and he has been saying this many many years, so these territorial ambitions have existed a long time,” Hannity said.

As the Fox News host noted, not only did Putin touch on those themes about Ukrainian sovereignty in his rambling speech on Monday, but he’s long made it known to other world leaders that he does not believe Ukraine is an actual country.

Acknowledging that Putin’s feelings about Ukraine “go way back,” Gabbard said she wanted “to stay focused on the security component” before reiterating her belief that a NATO promise will convince Putin to back off.

“But with regards to U.S. and NATO, just as we would not want Russia to come in and start putting their tanks and missiles on our borders—either with Mexico or elsewhere—Russia says, ‘Hey, I don’t want U.S. and NATO coming and making their military on our borders within Ukraine,’” she declared. “Guess what: the United States doesn’t want that either.”

Gabbard continued: “NATO countries don’t want that either. So why not recognize—say, hey, this is something that actually is common ground. It is highly unlikely Ukraine will ever become a member of NATO. Let’s take it off the table and immediately that would de-escalate these tensions and take that reasoning away from Putin for him to build up this presence on Ukraine’s border.”

Hannity, however, remained unconvinced.

“I might be a little more suspicious than you in believing that,” he concluded. “I think this very personal for Putin, and he is taking this as Russian land and we will take it.”

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