Senior Republicans are urging President Barack Obama to take a hard-line stance with Vladimir Putin amid an ongoing standoff over Russia's incursion into Ukraine.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the Russian military's takeover of Crimea, a portion of Ukraine, are a result of a "feckless foreign policy" under the Obama administration.
Both McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and House Speaker John Boehner publicly called Monday for swift and decisive action to punish Putin.
"The fact is, this is blatant act on the part of Vladimir Putin and one that must be unacceptable to world community. It cannot stand," McCain said at AIPAC, a conference for supporters of Israel in Washington, D.C.
"And I have to be very honest with you: there is not a military option that could be exercised now," added McCain, a vocal hawk in Congress who has often criticized Obama on matters of national security. "But the most powerful an biggest and strongest nation in the world should have options. And those options are many."
McCain floated many of the sanctions now under consideration by the United States and its western allies, including limiting travel for Russian officials and freezing assets deposited in Western financial institutions.
The United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, was expected to meet Monday afternoon.
Boehner, who has often given Obama a degree of latitude on matters of foreign policy, called Putin a "thug" in an interview with his hometown newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"It’s time to stand up to Putin," Boehner told the paper. "At what point do you say enough is enough? We are at that point."
First published March 3 2014, 8:53 AM