A woman stands in front of a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, April 20, 2014.
Marko Djurica/Reuters

Senator: “We’re going to lose Eastern Ukraine”


Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker told NBC News Sunday that Russia was likely to take over Eastern Ukraine. 

“I think we’re going to lose eastern Ukraine if we continue as we are, and I think it’s going to be a geopolitical disaster if that occurs,” Corker said to NBC News’ David Gregory on Meet the Press. Calling for tougher international measures against Russia, Corker said “our foreign policy is always a day late and a dollar short.” Corker also said that Putin is showing the ‘era of permissiveness the U.S. has created around the world.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who also appeared on Meet The Press, echoed Corker’s call for the Obama administration to take a tougher stance toward Russia. ”I think the time is now to ratchet up our sanctions,” Murphy said.

New York Times columnist David Brooks raised eyebrows when he added on Meet the Press that President Obama has a ‘manhood problem’ in the Middle East, questioning ‘Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad or somebody like Putin?’

The Eastern European nation of Ukraine has been in turmoil since protests ousted the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Since then, Russia has annexed the Crimean Peninsula, and Russian military forces have gathered on Ukraine’s eastern border. Ukraine is now divided between supporters of the current Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists.

Reports of a shooting in Eastern Ukraine on Sunday, in which CNN reported at least one person was killed, raised fears of further violence. 

Vice President Biden is headed to Kiev this week.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told NBC News in an exclusive interview that aired on Meet the Press Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking to impose Russian authority over all the former nations of the now-defunct Soviet Union. 

“President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union,” Yatsenyuk said. “And every day, he goes further and further.” 

MSNBC Live with Alex Witt, 4/20/14, 2:43 PM ET

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Senator: "We're going to lose Eastern Ukraine"