Tue Apr 8, 2014 11:51AM
Sen. John McCain
Sen. John McCain

US Republican Senator John McCain says the new government in Ukraine needs Washington’s military assistance in order to defend itself against Russia.

“As the risk of further Russian aggression against Ukraine appears to be growing, it is outrageous that the Obama administration still has not met the Ukrainian government’s request for modest military assistance,” McCain said in a statement on Monday.

“By withholding military assistance, the administration may think it is reducing the risk of further conflict. In fact, the opposite may be true: This decision will appear to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin as yet another sign of weakness, which may only invite further aggression,” he added.

On Monday, the US State Department said US Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about more economic sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

In a telephone call, Kerry told Lavrov that Washington was watching events in eastern Ukraine with "great concern."

Kerry has "called on Russia to publicly disavow the activities of separatists, saboteurs and provocateurs" in Ukraine, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The secretary “made clear that any further Russian effort to destabilize Ukraine will incur further costs for Russia,” she said.

The White House also warned Russia against intervening in eastern Ukraine.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said if Russia moves into eastern Ukraine either overtly or covertly, it would be a very serious escalation.

The warnings came after pro-Russian citizens of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk declared independence from Kiev, announcing the creation of the independent People’s Republic of Donetsk.