1103 GMT February 22, 2020
In a statement on Tuesday, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged the president to send military weapons to the Ukrainian forces fighting pro-Russian forces in the country’s eastern regions. Press TV reported.
"Providing Ukrainians with the ability to defend themselves would impose a far greater cost on Putin than he has paid thus far,” they wrote.
"The United States and the European Union must provide Ukraine with the arms and related military and intelligence support that its leaders have consistently sought and desperately need," the senators added.
Kiev and its Western backers accuse Moscow of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of pro-Russian activists. Russia, however, denies the accusation.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have been plagued by deadly clashes since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russian protests there in mid-April.
The two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Luhansk later joined the Russian Federation following a referendum in May. The move, however, heightened tensions between Russia and the United States.
“The Obama administration’s policy in Ukraine effectively amounts to an arms embargo on victims of aggression," McCain and Graham said.
The US and the European Union has so far imposed sanctions on Moscow. Russia, for its part, has imposed retaliatory bans.
The senators said Moscow’s action "demands more than additional empty rhetoric and threats of lowest-common-denominator sanctions."
Several Republicans have introduced bills that would toughen sanctions against Russia and arm the Ukrainian forces. With the party in control of the Senate, those bills have a greater chance of being passed.
On Tuesday, Putin said Washington wants to subdue Moscow, but will never succeed.
"They do not want to humiliate us, they want to subdue us, solve their problems at our expense," Putin said. "No one in history ever managed to achieve this with Russia, and no one ever will.”