“For years, McCain, R-Ariz., sounded the alarm about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine and would not have been surprised to see the full-fledged Russian invasion that is now unfolding.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As reported by Dan Nowicki in the Arizona Republic, Senator John McCain “sounded alarms about Russia for years,” and was known around the world as “one of Putin’s greatest antagonists.”Read excerpts from the article below.
Sen. John McCain, revered in Ukraine, sounded alarms about Russia for years
By: Dan Nowicki, Arizona Republic
February 28, 2022
Sen. John McCain saw it coming.
For years, McCain, R-Ariz., sounded the alarm about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine and would not have been surprised to see the full-fledged Russian invasion that is now unfolding.
Routinely calling Putin a thug and a murderer, McCain was relentless about the need to supply Ukraine with the military hardware it needed to protect itself from Russia. He often blasted Russia for its March 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, for supporting separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and for fomenting internal strife in the country.
McCain gained a reputation around the world as one of Putin’s greatest antagonists, so much so that Russia officially sanctioned him in March 2014.
In Ukraine, McCain is revered.
Then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was among the Ukrainian politicians and activists grieving after McCain’s death on Aug. 25, 2018, per the Kyiv Post. He would attend McCain’s memorial service at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
“Sad news for all Ukrainian people — died a great friend of Ukraine Senator John McCain,” Poroshenko said in a Twitter message that shared McCain’s image. “We will never forget his invaluable contribution to the development of democracy and freedom in Ukraine and the support of our state.”
On April 4, 2019, the Kyiv City Council voted to rename a local street to honor McCain.
McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, never minced words when it came to Putin.
The United States should “treat Vladimir Putin for what he is: a KGB colonel who wants to restore the Russian empire,” McCain said in 2014.
McCain addressed huge protest in Kyiv
McCain’s relationship with the Ukrainian people blossomed in 2013, when McCain visited Kyiv at a volatile time when the government was violently cracking down on protesters.
On Dec. 15, 2013, McCain spoke before a huge crowd of anti-government protesters in Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square…
“People of Ukraine, this is your moment. This is about you — no one else. This is about the future you want for your country,” McCain told the protesters. “This is about the future you deserve. A future in Europe. A future of peace …
“The free world is with you. America is with you. I am with you. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe. Ukraine will make Europe better, and Europe will make Ukraine better.”
McCain talked about speaking at the Maidan protest and later spending New Year’s Eve 2016 with Ukrainian marines “as two of the most inspiring experiences of his life,” Salter said.
McCain condemned Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea
Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimea region in February 2014 and by March 2 had captured the peninsula. Later in March, McCain led an eight-member bipartisan Senate delegation to Ukraine for meetings with government officials and other stakeholders and to condemn Russia’s action.
How would John McCain react to latest Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Writing for The Atlantic, Salter, McCain’s confidant, speculated about what McCain might say about the Russian invasion launched last week.
McCain likely would want the United States to let Russia know the consequences “without ambiguity,” he wrote, so that Putin would understand that his actions “would result in the destruction of Russia’s economy and the destabilization of his own political security.”
“I can hear McCain insisting that anything the U.S. can do to strengthen Ukraine’s capability to exact from Russia the highest price possible for its aggression, we ought to do, short of deploying U.S. forces to the conflict,” Salter wrote. “Let Putin explain to the Russian people why they should suffer grave losses for his reckless ambitions.”
In one of his final sit-down interviews with The Republic, McCain gave some similar advice for how the United States should deal with Putin.
“We need to be strong and steadfast,” McCain said. “Vladimir Putin is no fool. And he’s going to figure out the profit and loss from actions that he can take. We have to make it clear to him that the cost exceeds the benefit. And that doesn’t mean we’re back in the Cold War. But it does mean that we take a realistic approach to Vladimir Putin and his ambitions.”
Read the full article HERE.