GOP senator: 'I think we need to do more' to respond to Russian aggression toward Ukraine

GOP senator: 'I think we need to do more' to respond to Russian aggression toward Ukraine
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Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe Year Ahead: Dems under pressure to deliver on green agenda White House jumps into fight over energy subsidies Clock ticks down on GOP Congress MORE (R-Wyo.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE made the right decision to cancel his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit, and urged the U.S. and NATO to take stronger action in response to Russian aggression toward Ukraine.

"Putin is somebody that respects strength and territory. Words don’t mean much to him. Action does, so I think we need to do more," Barrasso said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

He suggested the U.S. send ships to the Black Sea, and encouraged NATO to do the same in a show of force against Russia. He also suggested providing additional anti-aircraft and anti-ship weaponry to Ukraine.

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"Putin respects strength and action. He will not stop until he is stopped. He can smell fear, and that’s the way he acts," said Barrasso, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Tensions flared last week between Ukraine and Russia after the Ukrainian navy said Russia fired on some of its ships in the Kerch Strait, hitting two vessels and injuring two crew members. Russia then seized both ships and a tugboat, Ukraine said. 

Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, said it seized the ships for illegally sailing into Russian territorial waters. 

Global leaders condemned the move, and Trump cited the altercation as a reason for cancelling a previously scheduled one-on-one meeting with Putin in Argentina. The two men instead spoke briefly during what the White House called an "informal" conversation.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, prompting significant international backlash and sanctions against Moscow. The U.S. and most other nations have not recognized Russia's annexation of Crimea as legitimate.

Trump has drawn flak at times for his hesitance to criticize Russia over is election interference or its annexation of Crimea, among other topics.