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April 18th, 2014
03:53 PM ET

Sen. Corker calls for lethal aid to Ukrainian military

(CNN) – The leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today called for the Obama administration to provide lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military and stop "holding their coat."

"It's time for us to consider anti-tank weaponry, anti-aircraft weaponry," Corker said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Russia is going to far out man Ukraine, "but we need to make sure that they understand they're going to pay a price if they do come in," says Corker.

Corker's comments come as international leaders push for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

"There is the possibility, the prospect, that diplomacy may de-escalate the situation," President Barack Obama said Thursday at the daily White House news conference when asked about the meeting in Geneva between top officials from the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union.

The President emphasized that he's been very clear that U.S. military options are not on the table in dealing with the situation in Ukraine.

While Obama signed off on sending more nonlethal aid to the Ukrainian military, the Pentagon is still not supporting lethal aid for Ukraine "because it could exacerbate the situation, which is what we do not want to do," a senior Pentagon official said Thursday.

Corker slammed the administration's current policy in Ukraine, saying it continues an "air of permissiveness," and will not produce "the desired outcome that we'd like to see happen for our nation and for our nation's interest."

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