- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, declared on Sunday that Russia is “a gas station masquerading as a country” and that the United States should be providing military and energy assistance to Ukraine and imposing economic sanctions on Russia mid the fast-moving situation in the region.

“I think that economic sanctions are a very important step,” Mr. McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country. It’s kleptocracy; it’s corruption. It’s a nation that is really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy, and so economic sanctions are important. Give some military assistance to Ukrainians at least so they can defend themselves.”

Mr. McCain also called on the U.S. to resume a plan for missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, a scheme strongly opposed by Russia that President Obama put the brakes on early in his first term.

Mr. McCain’s appearance on the program followed a weekend trip to Ukraine, where voters in Crimea are set to decide whether to move toward seceding from Ukraine and aligning with Russia. He said there’s no contemplation of boots on the ground or U.S. military action to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that there’s a lot the U.S. could do.

“In the long term, we should be working to get energy supplies to Ukraine and other countries in Europe,” he said.