As President Barack Obama was returning from a fundraising trip to New York, Sen. John McCain was describing the administration's response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as "cowardly."
Appearing Thursday on Fox News' "Hannity" show, McCain said of the administration's policy toward the crisis in Ukraine, "It's just been cowardly, it's a cowardly administration that failed to give the Ukrainians weapons with which to defend themselves."
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Less than a day later, Obama confirmed that a surface-to-air missile had downed the jet and that it was fired from "territory controlled by the Russian separatists," but he continued to hold to his position that the United States has no military role in the conflict.
"We don't see a U.S. military role beyond what we've already been doing in working with our NATO partners and some of the Baltic states, giving them reassurances that we are prepared to do whatever is required to meet our alliance obligations," Obama said
at a White House news conference.
Obama also confirmed the death of one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman.
At an event hosted by CNN and National Journal's Ron Fournier,
McCain said he believed Russia was indirectly responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner.
"I mean it wasn't Vladimir Putin that pushed the button to launch the missile, but the whole scenario, including the buildup of Russian troops across the border … I think that he gave them material and the wherewithal to do it – or facilitated that – and facilitated a situation that was very possible for them to do it."
McCain, who has advocated for a stronger approach to dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, told host Fox host Sean Hannity the United States should deliver to the Ukrainians "weapons to defend themselves and regain their territory" and "move some of our troops into areas that are being threatened" by Russia.
"Move missile defense into the places where we got out of, like the Czech Republic and Poland and other places. And impose the harshest possible sanctions on Vladimir Putin and Russia. That's just for openers," he added.
Since Russia annexed Crimea in February, Obama has approved $33 million in security assistance for Ukraine, including MREs, radios, and body armor.
Appearing at a July 9 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Derek Chollet, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said the administration was "discussing additional steps to help train and professionalize Ukraine's military," according to National Defense.
But Rear Adm. John Kirby stated during his Defense Department briefing on Friday that the focus of the administration would be on non-lethal aid.
McCain also took the opportunity during his Fox News interview to poke at recent comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest that Obama's policies have improved the "tranquility of the global community."
McCain said the only place the world is tranquil is at "a fundraiser."
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