Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on Sunday panned Secretary of State John Kerry for explicitly saying the U.S. was not threatening Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the Crimea region holds a referendum on whether to secede from Ukraine.
“It's not helpful,” Corker said on “Fox News Sunday” of Kerry's insistence that the U.S. was not attempting to threaten Putin over Crimea. “It shows a wishy-washiness.”
In recent days, the secretary of state said the U.S. and western nations would impose sanctions on Russian-aligned interests if Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine, as most expect.
Corker on Sunday said that Kerry was not doing enough to showcase U.S. strength to Putin.
“There is no question that our administration has created an air of permissiveness,” Corker said. “It’s those comments that cause Putin to question what our resolve is.”
Russian troops have mobilized along Ukraine's border and started military exercises in an apparent show of force. But Russian leaders insist they have no intention of invading southeast Ukraine.