Sen. John McCain implied Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will one day have to run away from Moscow.
"The United States must look beyond Mr. Putin. His regime may appear imposing, but it is rotting inside. His Russia is not a great power on par with America. It is a gas station run by a corrupt, autocratic regime," McCain wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times . "And eventually, Russians will come for Mr. Putin in the same way and for the same reasons that Ukrainians came for Viktor F. Yanukovych."
Yanukovych left the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in February, which set off a flurry of events that have led to the current tension, with a widely-dismissed vote scheduled for Sunday on the future political status of the region of Crimea.
"What is most troubling about Mr. Putin's aggression in Crimea is that it reflects a growing disregard for America's credibility in the world. That has emboldened other aggressive actors — from Chinese nationalists to Al Qaeda terrorists and Iranian theocrats," McCain wrote. "Crimea must be the place where President Obama recognizes this reality and begins to restore the credibility of the United States as a world leader."
McCain, an Arizona Republican, is currently in Ukraine as part of a delegation of eight senators meeting with a variety of stakeholders as Russian forces are in Crimea. The Senate was unable to reach an agreement on a package of economic aid for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia before departing for the trip.
McCain blasted fellow GOP senators Thursday on the Senate floor for objecting to swift passage of a legislative package reported out of the Foreign Relations Committee with bipartisan support.
"You can call yourself Republicans, that's fine, because that's your voter registration," he said. "Don't call yourself Reagan Republicans."
Separately, McCain told reporters Thursday that the Obama administration should go further and provide weapons to the Ukrainian government.