Following Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk exclusive interview with NBC News' David Gregory on Meet The Press Sunday, U.S. senators said America should not wait for Russia to make more threats before sending more security aid.
"Certainly we should beef up our security relationships with Ukraine," said Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
"I think the time is now to ratchet up our sanctions," said Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Corker agreed, saying, "I think we need to step on out and do the things that we've threatened."
The administration's reluctance to place sanctions on Russia indicates to Putin that he can do what he'd like in Ukraine as long as it doesn't "embarrass" the West, Corker said.
Ukraine only has 6,000 troops, Corker pointed out, and the U.S. will "lose Eastern Ukraine if we continue how we are."
"We need to be in very good shape in order to stop Russia," Yatsenyuk had told Gregory earlier on the show.
The interim prime minister said Ukraine needs financial support in order to "modernize Ukrainian military" to defend the country against Putin's plans of reunifying the Soviet Union.
"President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union. And every day, he goes further and further,” Yatsenyuk said. “And God knows where is the final destination."
Even though Russia, the European Union, the United States and Ukraine signed an April 17 accord in Geneva calling on people to desist from using violence or intimidation, gunfire erupted near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on Sunday and Russian forces haven't relinquished the borders.
Yatsenyuk also condemned those who handed out bulletins in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk mandating that Jewish people publicly identify themselves.
Yatsenyuk said he made a statement Saturday morning pressing Ukranian forces to find who handed out the pamphlets that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called “grotesque."
Ukrainian military and security forces and Ukrainian Department of Homeland Security are to “urgently ... find these bastards and to bring them to justice," Yatsenyuk said.
First published April 20 2014, 7:59 AM