Sen. John McCain joined a massive anti-government rally in Kiev on Sunday, telling an estimated crowd of more than 200,000 that the United States supports the protest movement’s goal of closer alignment with the West.
“We are here because your peaceful process and peaceful protest is inspiring your country and inspiring the world,” Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, said. “Ukraine will make Europe better, and Europe will make Ukraine better.”
In an interview with CNN shortly after addressing the crowd, Mr. McCain talked about the possibility of American sanctions if the Ukrainian government and its allies in Russia crack down on the protest movement.
“We’re not talking about military action; we’re not talking about blockades,” he said. “We are talking about the possibility of sanctions if they continue to brutally repress their people. That would require some action on our part just because that’s what the United States of America is all about.”
Mr. McCain, one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, said American “weakness” has provided Russian President Vladimir Putin an opportunity to extend Russian influence in Ukraine and in the Middle East.
“I think he’s realizing, thanks to our weakness, some of his ambitions,” Mr. McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said.
Mr. McCain was joined in Kiev by Sen. Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat.