The West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been “laughable” and “shameful”, US Republican Senator John McCain said in Vilnius on Wednesday.
The former Republican presidential candidate also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin might “feel bolder”, if Europeans and Americans did not take stronger action, and also called for arming the Ukrainian army.
“The response to Vladimir Putin’s behaviour has been almost laughable. The only thing that Vladimir Putin understands is strength. There has been the weakest response imaginable, sanctioning a few people and one bank,” McCain told journalists in Vilnius.
“The fact that the United States will not give defensive weapons to Ukraine (…) in fear of provoking Vladimir Putin, only encourages Vladimir Putin. The fact that we will not assist the Ukrainian government and people after they have been invaded by Vladimir Putin is shameful,” the senator said after a meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė.
The senator also said Lithuania could expect more military exercises with Americans but added that a permanent US base was not under consideration.
“I am convinced and certain that we will and can have more military cooperation, not obviously permanent basing but rotation of troops and military exercises,” McCain said.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said after the meeting that “Russia’s actions in Ukraine pose threat to the security system of the entire Europe.”
“It is very important that Western states take a common position and seek common solutions to resolve the situation in Ukraine. Russia no longer respects international agreements and continues to escalate the conflict; therefore, a unified response from the international community is needed,” the president was quoted as saying in a statement.