By Kyle Balluck - 03/16/14 11:04 AM EDT
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) said on Sunday that the mood in Ukraine was “tense” just before a “sham” referendum in Crimea to join Russia or become an independent state.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee member spoke to ABC’s “This Week” after returning from a trip to Ukraine.
“The mood is tense, clearly we’re watching events in Crimea,” he said. “This sham referendum isn’t fooling anyone.”
“Ultimately, I think his ambition is to try to keep control of the entire Ukraine,” he said.
“The Ukrainians we talked to … are clear: The Ukrainians aren’t going to go down with out a fight,” he added.
“If Russia really does decide to move beyond Crimea, it is going to be bloody and the fight may be long.”
Murphy said lawmakers must be ready to “stand together” to pass economic aid for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia following what is expected to be a lopsided vote.
“I’d be surprised if it’s not 70, 80, 90 percent,” he said.
Murphy’s comments echoed those of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who on Sunday called the referendum in Crimea to gain independence from Ukraine and join Russia "bogus."
"Look, it is a bogus thing. We used to call it plebiscite in the days of Hitler and Stalin. It is a done deal," he said on CNN's "State of the Union.”
McCain and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine have a running bet on how lopsided the vote will be.