Press Releases

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today issued the following
statement on the new satellite images released by NATO showing Russian troops
amassed on the Ukrainian border:

“It is clear from the satellite images released by NATO yesterday that Russia has
poised a menacing force near the Ukrainian border as part of its effort to
destabilize Ukraine and destroy its chance for independence,
self-determination, and democracy. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
stated that the 40,000 Russian troops along the border are not conducting
training exercises but are prepared for combat, and the Supreme Allied
Commander for Europe General Philip Breedlove believes these photos show that
Russia is clearly preserving all options including  further military
aggression.

“Yet, despite warnings by our most senior commanders, the Obama Administration has
done little to discourage Russia from further aggression and failed to provide
Ukrainians with the modest military assistance that they have requested to help
defend themselves. So far, the Administration’s only response has been to issue
sanctions on a few individuals and threaten the likelihood of more sanctions if
Russia takes further action. No one should believe that these measures have
effectively deterred President Vladimir Putin.

“With Russian forces amassed on the Ukrainian border, Putin has clearly created a
range of options for himself. For example, he could consolidate his hold on
Crimea and deescalate, having sent a clear message of force and resolve to
those in the region. He could maintain his military threat and continue covert
efforts to foment disorder in Ukraine, demanding autonomy in eastern cities and
distracting the government in Kyiv from its mission of reform as a way of
protecting Russian interests. It is also possible that Putin could invade
eastern Ukraine and seek outright control of its important industrial zones.
Similarly, Putin could send forces into southern Ukraine and stir unrest in
cities there, such as Odessa, as a way of landlocking Ukraine and expanding
Russia’s territorial control into the Transnistria region in Moldova.

“Putin has given himself options, and so must we. It is incumbent upon the
Administration and our NATO allies to quickly undertake a range of actions that
include providing the military assistance requested by the Ukrainian government
to defend their country, shifting additional NATO assets and capabilities to
eastern Europe, conducting NATO military exercises there and in the Baltics,
developing a long term strategy to achieve energy independence in eastern
Europe and additional steps that could have a deterrent effect on Putin and
demonstrate that he will pay a heavier price for further aggression.”

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