Republican Senator John McCain has said EU sanctions against Russia are "almost a joke" and reiterated the need for a stronger U.S. role in the conflict, calling upon President Barack Obama to arm Ukrainians so that they can "defend themselves."
McCain, known for his outspoken anti-Kremlin views, on Tuesday called for "strong, tough American leadership" in face of "minimal" EU sanctions against Russia during a visit to Estonia, Associated Press reported.
The visit is part of a tour with Senator John Hoeven around the Baltic, covering Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Norway, to assess "regional defense and security," the U.S. Embassy in Talliinn, Estonia, said in a statement on its website.
In an appearance on CBS on Sunday, McCain criticized Obama's administration for its weak response to Russian action in the region and said the U.S. should be arming eastern Ukrainians.
"We ought to at least, for God's sake, give them some light weapons with which to defend themselves" McCain said.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Tuesday made a public appeal to NATO, saying that deploying troops to Ukraine is "vital" to avoid a "Crimea-style situation."