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 BarrassoOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Lobbying world MORE (R-Wyo.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves 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.