Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said President Obama has “conceded” on Russian annexation of Crimea, allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to say to himself, “‘we got away with it.’”
On Tuesday, Obama met with members of the G-7 to discuss actions that could be taken against Russia. Obama said they discussed further sanction options that could be taken if Putin continues his aggression in other countries along the Russian border.
“Every time someone gave Hitler a little of this and a little of that it never worked out,” Graham said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “President Obama has conceded on Crimea.”
On Thursday, the Senate will vote on an aid package to Ukraine that gives the country a $1 billion loan guarantee and sanctions Russian leaders involved in the Crimea takeover.
The Republican senators said the Ukraine bill was a good first step, but more needed to be done to punish Putin and stop him from taking back other former Soviet Union regions. They suggested increasing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas to Europe and Ukraine would help them gain independence since Russia supplies the region with energy.
“Russia is now a gas station masquerading as a nation,” McCain said. “We need and we should have had in this legislation increasing exports of our energy.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that he believes the Senate will need to consider more legislation in coming weeks to help Ukraine and punish Russia, but did not give specifics.