Vladimir Putin is a greater threat than IS, says John McCain

In an interview with ABC’s 7.

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30 during a visit to Australia, US Republican Senator John McCain said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a greater threat than IS and more sanctions should be imposed upon the Kremlin.

“He is the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS,” the former US presidential candidate and former prisoner of war said.

“ISIS can do terrible things, and I worry a lot about what is happening to the Muslim faith… but it is the Russians who are trying, who tried to destroy the very fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election.

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“We need to have increased sanctions and hopefully when we come back from our recess the Senate will move forward with sanctions on Russia and enact other penalties for Russian behaviour.”  

Mr McCain criticised US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a top White House advisor, over reports he sought a secret communications channel with Russia, describing the situation as “more and more and more bizarre”.

“In fact, you can’t make it up,” he said

“I don’t like it… I know some administration officials are saying it is standard procedure.

“I don’t think it is standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.”

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On North Korea’s missiles

Mr McCain said China was “key” to diffusing the nuclear threat North Korea poses. Earlier on Monday, North Korea fired another ballistic missile, which landed in Japan’s economic zone.

He said he didn’t think it was “acceptable” to aim a missile at Australia with a nuclear weapon on it “and depend on our ability to counter it with an anti-missile capability”.

But he said China could “restrain North Korean behaviour”.

“Because the Chinese control basically the North Korean economy.

“This is an impending crisis and it requires all of us working together to diffuse this crisis and make sure… that North Korea is never in a position where they can threaten the United States of America or Australia or any of our allies with a nuclear weapon.”

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