It is time for the United States to provide lethal weapons for Ukraine's military, Sen. Bob Corker said Friday, and make sure Russia understands "they're going to pay a price if they do come in."
"It's time for us to consider anti-tank weaponry, anti-aircraft weaponry," Corker, of Tennessee, who is the leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN's Jake Tapper on his "The Lead" show Friday, calling for the Obama administration to stop "holding their coat while they're dealing with this issue."
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Russia will outman Ukraine if it invades the much smaller country, said Corker, but international leaders' push for a diplomatic solution to the crisis will not work.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama said that there is still a possibility that "diplomacy may de-escalate the situation" and emphasized that he's been clear that the U.S. military is not part of the solution when dealing with the situation.
Obama has signed off on sending more nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian military, and a senior Pentagon official told CNN Thursday that the Pentagon is not supporting legal aid for Ukraine "because it could exacerbate the situation, which is not what we want to do."
But Corker said the Obama administration's policy continues "an air of permissiveness" that will not produce "the desired outcome that we'd like to see happen for our nation and for our nation's interest."
“What we did in Syria by jumping into Russia’s lap and letting them drive policy there after the chemical weapons issue came to the forefront has really been informative, I think, to the people of Russia and, candidly, our allies, and I think they are in fact playing us instead of us moving ahead with sectoral sanctions,” Corker said.
Earlier this week, Corker wrote a letter to Obama urging him to impose more sanctions on Russian businesses to deter the country's actions against Ukraine, reports The Hill
"Rather than wait for a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine to implement additional sanctions, which seems to be U.S. policy at the moment, we must take action now that will help prevent this worst-case scenario before it becomes a reality," Corker wrote in his letter. "Our European allies need to see action, leadership, and resolve from the United States."
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