By Julian Pecquet - 03/03/14 12:10 PM EST
The apparent occupation of Ukraine's Crimea region by Russian troops “cannot stand,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) declared Monday.
Speaking to the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, McCain said Ukrainian protesters took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands last month because “they did not want to be part of Putin's Russia.” Russia's president, McCain said, has responded by occupying a “sovereign part of the sovereign nation of Ukraine.”
“The fact is, this is a blatant act on the part of Vladimir Putin and one that must be unacceptable to the world community,” he said. “It cannot stand.”
The hawkish senator ruled out a U.S. military intervention, but said Congress and the White House have a “broad array of options” at their disposal.
“I have to be very honest with you – there is not a military option to be exercised now,” he said. “But the most powerful and biggest and strongest nation in the world should have plenty of options. And those options are many, ranging from identifying these kleptocrats... we can enact economic sanctions.”
McCain went on to rip into President Obama.
“This is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America's strength anymore,” McCain to loud applause from the pro-Israel crowd.
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