- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2014

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, predicted Monday that Russia will not back out of Crimea, even if a vote by the peninsula’s residents finds they would rather be part of Ukraine.

“I promise you Vladimir Putin will not be thrown out of Crimea because of a vote,” he said on CNN.

Mr. McCain said he is working on a legislative package with other senators that can move through the committeeon Tuesday. When asked what he would do to solve the international conflict, he said he would impose sanctions on Mr. Putin and his oligarch friends, restrict travel and bank accounts, and have some military operations in the Baltics, which could be Russia’s next target.

“We have a wide range of options which are not ‘military options,’ and we should take them quick. I think all of those options are on the table,” he said.

He criticized both President Obama and President George W. Bush in their handling of the Russian president, saying it’s a case of “hope over realism” and a desire to get along with the Russians, despite Mr. Putin’s history as a “KGB colonel who believes in the Russian empire.”

“Without Ukraine it’s a country, with it, it’s an empire. Vladimir Putin knows that, and we have to treat him accordingly,” he said. “To think this guy can still be dealt with the way we were dealing with him in the past, we haven’t learned that lesson.”

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