US senator John McCain (R) has compared the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Crimea to actions taken by Adolf Hitler, on a BBC News interview, as he urged the US government to send "a small military delegation" to help Ukraine overcome ongoing tensions with Russia.
"He is calculating what he can get away with just as Adolf Hitler calculated what he could get away with in the 1930s," McCain said of Putin.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, McCain - who lost to President Barack Obama (D) in the 2008 elections - called Crimea "a captive nation" and described the international response as "hot air and very little action."
Senator McCain also said that it was essential to counter the Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula, to convince President Putin that the price of further aggression is not worth retribution.
"I see nothing wrong with providing both lethal and non-lethal assistance to the government of Ukraine, which has just had its nation invaded and dismembered," McCain stated, explaining that he would send a small military delegation to Kiev to help rebuild its air defenses.
McCain also claimed Putin is lying when he claims not to be interested in invading - or inspiring a revolution - in other areas of Ukraine, e.g. Moldova or Donetsk. "Nothing that they say can be taken with any value whatsoever," he stated, but added that he does not foresee a "cataclysmic" war.
International attention has focused on the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, which has snowballed since spiraling into crisis in December. Concern is rising that the Crimean takeover could turn into a precedent for Ukraine to splinter further - especially over protests erupting in the pro-Russian province Donetsk.
The Crimean peninsula has become the focus of the conflict, which exploded earlier this month after 6,000 Russian troops invaded an airport in the Russian-speaking Ukrainian province.
Russian troops - now rumored to number over 21,000 in the peninsula alone - invaded the last Ukrainian stronghold in Crimea on Saturday, causing international uproar. The news has only heightened tensions between the West and Moscow, as threats of sanctions have been traded between the two and blacklists have been published on either side.