Tags: Russia | ukraine | ceasefire | agreement | john mccain

McCain: Russia-Ukraine Ceasefire Unlikely to Hold

By    |   Thursday, 04 September 2014 07:29 PM

Sen. John McCain says he doesn't expect a ceasefire agreement between Russia and Ukraine to hold.

Appearing Thursday on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," McCain said Russian President Vladimir Putin wants "a frozen situation where he has control of the east, and continues his efforts towards a land bridge to Crimea."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Thursday that the peace deal would be signed on Friday in Minsk, Belarus.

McCain, who is currently in Kiev, has pushed for military aid for Ukraine for months. He told CNN that Putin's recent actions annexing Crimea and now sending troops into eastern Ukraine, all the while denying his troops are even there, are evidence he won't abide by any ceasefire.

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the last week, he said, after Russia moved in with troops, soldiers and drones. Putin claimed any Russian troops inside Ukraine were merely on vacation.

"And what he has suffered in response to this naked aggression has been minimal," McCain said.

The Obama administration has been relying on a strategy of increasingly tougher economic sanctions, which critics say have done little to faze the former KGB officer.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen voiced similar skepticism, telling reporters at the NATO summit in Wales, "We have seen similar statements and initiatives, and they have actually just been a smokescreen for continued Russian destabilization of the situation in Ukraine. Based on experience, we have to be cautious."

"Whether words are followed by action, tomorrow or in the next few days, we'll have to see," German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also attending the summit, added.

Ukraine appeared to be gaining an upper hand against Russian-backed rebels until the recent action, but now is "overwhelmed," McCain said.

He called the situation "tragic," because the United States refuses to give intelligence and weapons to Ukrainians so they can defend themselves.

"They've literally got volunteers fighting now who, obviously, are not trained. And the Russians are very good at killing," McCain said.

The Arizona senator has said previously that Putin wants to bring back the glory days of the old Russian Empire. He told Tapper on Thursday that if Putin succeeds in Ukraine, "next is Moldova, and next is the Baltic states."

NATO's summit and European Union moves toward imposing more sanctions on Russia formed the backdrop for the diplomacy to stop the conflict, which has cost at least 2,600 lives and torn up the security arrangements that have governed Europe since the end of the Cold War.

In Brussels Thursday, representatives of the 28 EU governments were to consider tightening the economic sanctions that were imposed on Russia in July. Proposals include barring some Russian state-owned defense and energy companies from raising capital in the EU, a U.K. official said.

Putin, who denies that Russia is promoting the rebellion, unveiled a seven-point plan on Sept. 3. It calls for an end to the rebel offensive in eastern Ukraine and the withdrawal of the Ukrainian military from residential areas.

NATO's supreme military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, has labeled Putin's offer a ploy to lock down rebel control of chunks of Ukrainian territory in the east and south, close to the border with Russia.

"I don't see a lot of credibility in what Mr. Putin has put on the table," Breedlove said before the NATO summit. "Any ceasefire without closure of the border benefits Russian actions inside Ukraine."

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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Sen. John McCain says he doesn't expect a ceasefire agreement between Russia and Ukraine to hold.
ukraine, ceasefire, agreement, john mccain
Thursday, 04 September 2014 07:29 PM
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