Russia is merely "an oil and gas company masquerading as a country," Sen. Lindsey Graham said in an attack Wednesday on both Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.
"The value system of Mr. Putin is that of a KGB colonel," the South Carolina Republican said on the Senate floor, Politico reports
. "I understand where he is coming from because of his value system. I just don’t agree with it."
Graham was joined by Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire in accusing Putin of manipulating Moscow's vast oil resources to expand its power throughout the world.
The senators lobbed their attacks while other GOP senators attended a party luncheon near the Capitol, Politico reports.
"But what we can’t do is let him affect those who are living around him who want to go a different path — because the day you begin to do that, it never works out well," Graham said. "In World War II, every time somebody gave Hitler a little of this and a little of that, eventually it never works out well."
McCain echoed the "gas station" analogy, adding, "I have no illusions or worry about the long-term future of Russia." That future may well include incursions into Moldova or eastern Ukraine after Crimea's annexation, he said.
"Vladimir Putin’s forces are on the border of eastern Ukraine right now, and they are poised to invade," McCain said. "They even have forces in Belarus — and Vladimir Putin is figuring out the cost-benefit ratio to moving into Ukraine."
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