Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have invaded Ukraine because he’s unafraid of a weak White House.
“President Putin does not have a great deal of respect for President Obama,” he said.
McCain spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about Friday’s surprise invasion of southern Ukraine, when Russian troops, tanks and helicopters moved out of their bases in Crimea to secure airports and the regional capital of Simperofol (RELATED: Russia stages ‘armed invasion’ of southern Ukraine [VIDEO]).
The hawkish senator expressly ruled out an American military response to defend Ukraine: “Obviously we’re not going to be sending troops anywhere or armed conflict.”
“But,” he added, “I really believe that when Vladimir Putin looks around the world — sees what happened in Syria when the red line turned pink and the president didn’t act, our acquiescence to their occupation of Georgia, all of the actions that have to do and indicate a decline of the United States of America — I think he’s emboldened and he’s acting.”
“I’m sure you saw the pictures of President Putin and President Obama sitting next to each other at their last meeting,” McCain later commented. “The fact is that President Putin does not have a great deal of respect for President Obama. They have a very chilly relationship.”
“When Putin sees the President of the United States say, ‘We are going to act if they cross a red line’ and they don’t,” McCain explained, “and when he sees the President of the United States say ,’tell Vladimir that when I’m reelected I’m going to be more flexible,’ when we were pushing the ‘reset button,’ — I think that Vladimir Putin, being the old KGB apparatchik that he is, does not believe that the penalty for this behavior will be very severe.”
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