Miilitants stand at a checkpoint in Lugansk region, Ukraine, 06 June 2014. Ukraine said it has given up more posts along the border with Russia because of ongoing attacks by separatist militias. Overall, eight border crossings were closed in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the border guard service said, adding that the move aims to reduce security risks to the local population: photo - EPA/VALENTINA SVISTUNOVA
“If I was in the White House I would give Europe a choice: either you are with us, or you are with Putin,” Senator John McCain, defeated by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential elections, has told the Rzeczpospolita daily in an attack on the EU and US's response to Russia's “aggression” in Ukraine.
“A handful of people have been subject to sanctions, with no restrictions imposed on various sectors of the Russian economy, France sells [Mistral war ships] to Russia. In fact, everything has remained the same. And Mr. Putin has avoided responsibility for the crimes,” McCain said.
McCain said that Europe's timid response was the result of its “energy dependence” on Russian gas supplies and “business ties”.
He added that President Obama had frequently “drawn a red line” against further incursions by Russia in Ukraine and then “allowed it to be exceeded without any consequences. In this situation, the United States retains very little credibility,” Senator McCain told the Polish newspaper.
McCain's remarks come as the United States's top army commander, General Raymond Odierno arrived in Poland on Sunday for talks with the Polish defence minister and to observe military exercises involving American troops currently stationed in the country.
While in Warsaw last week, President Obama called on the US Congress to provide 1 billion dollars to beef up American presence in the region.
Meanwhile, Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski repeated his request for a permanent NATO presence on Polish soil.
“Why is it all right to have bases in Germany, in Britain, Spain, Italy and Turkey and not in Poland? What are the 55,000 remaining American troops Germany defending against? I assure you that Poland is no threat. And I don't think Denmark wants to attack Germany either,” he told the Wroclaw Global Forum at the weekend. (pg)