King calls for troop buildup near Ukraine

Greg Nash

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Wednesday that President Obama hasn't done enough to show that the United States is committed to supporting Ukraine, and said the administration should take additional steps — including moving troops into Baltic countries — to ramp up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I think one criticism I would have of the president is that he's not up until now shown we're in this for the long haul," King told CNN. "He's talking about off ramps for Putin."

ADVERTISEMENT
The New York congressman said it was "very important" that the U.S. move troops into Ukraine's Baltic neighbors, "and make it clear that this is not just a temporary measure."

"Also I think we should consider restarting the missile defense system in Eastern Europe, which again will be a signal to the Russians," King said. "And also we have to dramatically accelerate, I believe, the production and exporting of liquefied natural gas to Europe so the allies won't be dependent on Russia."

King said such measures would be "a strong signal to Russia and investors in Russia that we are serious about this."

U.S. Army paratroopers arrived in Poland on Wednesday as part of a series of deployments designed to assuage concerns among NATO allies in Eastern Europe spooked by Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the troops would remain in Poland "throughout the rest of the year," and said military exercises could expand to other Baltic allies.

On Tuesday, Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express his "deep concern" over the situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have refused to disarm despite an agreement signed by the U.S., Ukraine and Russia last week.

A senior State Department official said Kerry urged Russia "to tone down escalatory rhetoric" and issue public statements "calling for those occupying buildings to disarm and stand down in exchange for amnesty."

"Secretary Kerry also reiterated that the absence of measurable progress on implementing the Geneva agreement will result in increased sanctions on Russia," the official said.

Earlier Tuesday, Vice President Biden called on Russia to "stop supporting men hiding behind masks and unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine" during a visit to Kiev.

The vice president warned more "provocative behavior" would be met with additional sanctions from the U.S., and announced a new aid package aimed to stabilize the Ukrainian economy and assist with next month's presidential elections.

"You will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you," Biden said.

More in International

Moldova, a powder keg in the heart of Europe

Read more »