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McCain slams West for 'laughable' response to Russia

US Senator John McCain (L) and Lt Col Lendy Renegar (R), 48th Air Expeditionary Group commander, visit the US Air Force, currently deployed on NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission, near Siauliai Zuokniai, Lithunaia, on April 16, 2014
US Senator John McCain (L) and Lt Col Lendy Renegar (R), 48th Air Expeditionary Group commander, visit the US Air Force, currently deployed on NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission, near Siauliai Zuokniai, Lithunaia, on April 16, 2014

US senator John McCain on Wednesday described the West's response to Russian actions in Ukraine as "almost laughable", saying a stronger stance is needed to keep the Kremlin in check.

The recent US and EU sanctions against Russia were "the weakest response imaginable", the Republican senator told reporters in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius while on a tour of the Baltic states.

"Unless Europeans and the United States take much stronger action, I believe that Mr. Putin will feel bolder," he said after talks with Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite.

"The fact that we will not assist the Ukrainian government and people after they have been invaded by (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is shameful," he added.

"The response to Vladimir Putin's behavior has been almost laughable."

Saying he was "very concerned about fomenting violence in Eastern Ukraine", he repeated calls to arm the Ukrainian army.

He also expressed concern over Moldova's security and called for deeper military cooperation between the US and the Baltic states, which spent five decades under Soviet occupation and joined NATO in 2004.

"I am convinced and certain that we will and can have more military cooperation, not obviously permanent basing but rotation of troops and military exercises," he said.

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