Russian invasion of Ukraine is "Europe's fight, not ours," says Gov. Kristy Noem

The governor made her comments in a statement to Fox News but softened them slightly in Mitchell on Wednesday.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem gives remarks before signing a bill limiting "frivolous" nuisance claims on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Mitchell.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — The United States should focus on the threat from China rather than Russia's invasion of Ukraine when it comes to national security, Gov. Kristy Noem said Wednesday, March 15.

Noem was in Mitchell for a bill signing ceremony confirming legislation that makes it more difficult to bring nuisance lawsuits against agriculture producers.

Over the past few days, Noem has ramped up appearances in national news arenas, criticizing Washington’s actions on topics du jour like the bailout of depositors at the Silicon Valley Bank — “not the role of the government” to rescue “failing, woke banks,” she told Fox News on March 14 — and the now-yearlong Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In statements shared by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on March 13 laying out the views of several “potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates” on Ukraine, Noem criticized American actions, arguing the Biden administration was pulling resources away from China, which she called the "primary external threat" to America.

The governor further made the case that a heavy-handed approach to financial sanctions had led to adversarial nations “consciously moving away from the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”


She added that the war in Ukraine "should be Europe’s fight, not ours."

While Noem softened some of these comments upon questioning Wednesday — “Russia is a horrible threat to the United States of America and Putin is an evil man,” she said — her main critique of a lack of grand strategy held.

“We need to look at what we are doing here in Ukraine,” she said. “Is it bringing us any kind of security, will it beat back Russia and will it make sure that the United States will be safer in the future?”

Noem’s statements depart substantially from the public views of South Dakota’s congressional delegation, all three of whom have been steadfast in their support for American aid.

“I believe it is most cost-effective, and best for the nation and world, to defeat Russia in Ukraine, rather than allowing the Russian army to make advances into NATO member countries which would obligate the United States to put American boots on the ground and further risk American lives,” Sen. Mike Rounds, a member of the Armed Services committee, told Forum News Service last December following the passage of a government funding bill that included $44 billion for “Ukraine and NATO.”

“It's been great to see the support from the Legislature this year on backing up that type of investment," Gov. Kristi Noem told reporters days after approving $400 million in prison investments.

Jason Harward is a Report for America corps reporter who writes about state politics in South Dakota. Contact him at 605-301-0496 or

Jason Harward covers South Dakota news for Forum News Service. Email him at
What To Read Next
Get Local