Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain urged a “fundamental reassessment” of the U.S.’s relationship with Russia and President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, the day the region of Crimea is holding a referendum to determine whether it will secede from Ukraine and possibly join Russia.
Fresh off a trip to Ukraine as part of a congressional delegation, McCain argued on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that the U.S. should implement quick sanctions targeting Russia’s role as a gas provider in Europe.
“Look, Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” McCain said. “It’s kleptocracy. It’s corruption. It’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy, and so economic sanctions are important.”
McCain also urged broader action. He emphasised American military action was out of the question, and said the re-ignition of a Cold War was also not necessary. But he said there was a lot the U.S. could do to isolate Putin and Russia if they continue down the current path on Ukraine.
“The United States of America, first of all, has to have a fundamental reassessment of our relationship with Vladimir Putin,” McCain said on CNN.
“No more ‘reset buttons.’ No more, ‘Tell Vladimir I’ll be more flexible.’ Treat him for what he is. That does not mean re-ignition of the Cold War. But it does mean treating him in the way that we understand an individual who believes in restoring the old Russian empire.”
Here’s the clip:
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