By Rebecca Shabad - 04/07/14 03:39 PM EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted the Obama administration on Monday for not providing military aid to Ukraine, arguing that it could invite further aggression from Russia.
His comments come after pro-Russian demonstrators took over government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, according to reports.
“As the risk of further Russian aggression against Ukraine appears to be growing, it is outrageous that the Obama Administration still has not met the Ukrainian government’s request for modest military assistance,” McCain said in a statement.
When the crisis escalated last month, Ukrainian leaders requested military assistance from the United States, but President Obama has not yet made a decision.
“By withholding military assistance, the Administration may think it is reducing the risk of further conflict. In fact, the opposite may be true: This decision will appear to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin as yet another sign of weakness, which may only invite further aggression,” he added.
McCain called the latest events by demonstrators in Ukraine “deeply troubling” and said they appear to be right out of Putin’s “playbook.”
The Republican senator and former presidential hopeful has repeatedly criticized Obama for not displaying enough strength in the crisis.
On Monday, Obama administration officials said any overt or covert actions by Russia to intervene further in Ukraine would result in additional costs.
Last month, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration had not ruled out military assistance to Ukraine, but said the U.S. is "focused presently on providing the assistance that Ukraine needs most at this time, which is economic assistance."
The administration has so far provided a $1 billion aid package of loan guarantees to Ukraine, which contains sanctions against Russia.