Updated Mar 20, 2014 - 6:45 pm
Sen. John McCain laments (not really) his loss of access to Russia
PHOENIX -- Now he's done it -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has gotten himself banned from Russia.
McCain was one of nine American legislators and officials to be put on a no-entry list as Russia put its own sanctions in place on the heels of penalties imposed on the country by President Barack Obama.
Surprisingly, McCain was not particularly upset with the exclusion. The 77-year-old statesman tweeted out Thursday morning after the announcement:
I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, Gazprom stock is lost & secret bank account in Moscow is frozen http://t.co/TgwZneD4HY— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 20, 2014
On Thursday afternoon, he told 92.3 KTAR's Mac and Gaydos that he was "terribly upset" by the ban, adding that it is "a traumatic experience for [him]" to be sanctioned by Vladimir Putin.
McCain added that his ban from visiting Russia did not come as a surprise.
"[T]hey view me as one of their greatest -- if not enemy -- certainly adversary," McCain said. "Some years ago, Putin said, ‘My two biggest problems are Chechnya and McCain.'"
All joking aside, however, McCain stressed the severity of Russia's actions and how he predicted Putin would go to extreme, potentially violent, measures.
"I predicted that he would go into Crimea, if he thought that he had lost Ukraine," McCain said. "There's a major Russian naval base -- Sevastopol -- which provides Russia access to the Mediterranean [and he thought it] would be in jeopardy, so he did what he did in order to maintain control of Crimea, where that base is located."
While stressing disapproval and concern over Russia's actions, McCain also took the time to chastise the United States' reaction -- or lack of it.
"He thought he could do it without a heavy penalty and apparently, that's the case because the president is not even taking steps to try and give the Ukrainians some defensive weapons," McCain said.
After the downfall of the Soviet Union, McCain added that Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for the rights of territorial integrity, which included Crimea.