Let's bring in senator Chris Murphy, member of the senate foreign relations committee. He just got off a plane from Ukraine. Senator, you were there all day yesterday. The mood? The mood is tense.... See More
Let's bring in senator Chris Murphy, member of the senate foreign relations committee. He just got off a plane from Ukraine. Senator, you were there all day yesterday. The mood? The mood is tense. We're watching events in crimea. The sham referendum is not fooling anyone. You see additional troops being mustered by the Russians on the eastern border. The Ukrainians we talked to, the government officials and the folks that drove the movement in kiev, are clear that Ukrainians are not going to go down without a fight. It is going to be bloody and the fight may be long. They need help from the united States. I wanted to get that to you. Is the United States prepared to send military aid to the Ukraine? I know there's an economic aid package that's gotten bogged down in some politics. Is there a military aid package on the table? As soon as we get back to Washington, you'll see the senate and the house pass an economic aid package along with sanctions. There's a lot of ways we can assist in the resistance. I'm not sure we're to the point in providing arms. But they need nonlethal assistance, like mrs, that we can put on the ground. And I think it is appropriate to work with the Ukrainians on a longer term to rebuild their military. It's been gutted by president yanukovich over the last three or four years. You mentioned if the Russians move furtherer in the eastern Ukraine, it could be bloody. That the Ukrainians are prepared to fight. But we're having this vote in the crimea today. We think we know which way it's going to go. The crimeans are going to vote to be closer to Russia. Is that a Fait accompli. Is there anything to be done to reverse that right now? I don't think therevote. I'd be surprised if it's not 70%, 80%, 90%, given the fact that the Russians have shut down the Ukrainian media in the region. I don't think Putin's ambition is crimea here. Ultimately, I think his ambition is to try to keep control of the entire Ukraine. If he controls crimea and loses the rest of Ukraine, which is 95% of the population, that's a loss for Russia's world power and prestige. I think he may stop after this referendum and try to negotiate something with Ukraine that would pull them away from the european union. Everything we saw on the ground, there's no appetite from the new Ukrainian government to do a deal with Russia, that forestalls their plan to join the european union. If Putin moves further into eastern Ukraine, is there anything the U.S. And the rest of the west can really do to prevent that? I don't think there's anything we can do militarily. Clearly, this is a longer-term effort to build up the Ukrainian military. But on Monday, if we announce a set of crippling sanctions, coming after individuals and Russian business entities, that sends a strong message to Putin. I think he marched into crimea because he didn't think the United States and Europe would take a chunk of flesh out of his economy. If we stand together on Monday, that gives us a chance to change the calculus in Moscow. Do you think these sanctions with bite deep enough? We have to wait for the european friends to tell us they're willing to move forward. There's no doubt if you cut off Russian gas to Europe, it will hurt. If you freeze Russian assets in places like Germany and great Britain, it will hurt them. This is a threat to the integrity of Europe. Who knows who is next? It was laughable to think that Russia would March on Ukraine. Five years from now, it may be a nato country that's in jeopardy. Senator, thanks for your time this morning. Thanks.
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