Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., cautioned on improving relations with Russia, saying President Vladimir Putin is not a friend to the U.S.
"Vladimir Putin didn't think the Cold War ever ended," Cotton told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Friday. "He didn't think they had lost. He just thought they were behind at halftime and they've been making up ground now for 17 years.
"Russia is not our friend. Vladimir Putin is not our friend… and for a long time we needed to take a firmer line, draw up more boundaries and take a tougher approach towards them."
And Ernst agreed.
"Vladimir Putin is not our friend," she said. "He has never been our friend and we need to watch America's back. We need to maintain a relationship with Russia but it needs to be one of strength."
Ernst added she supports arming the Ukrainians in their fight against Russia.
"I do support giving them the means not only to defend themselves but protect their families," she said. "It's very, very important that we do that. And I've been supportive of that measure for the last two years. I think it's something we need to act on."
Cotton said the U.S. needs to put pressure on Russia.
"Well, providing weapons to Ukraine or putting troops in Poland is just one example how we can put pressure in so many different points on Russia and Vladimir Putin," he said.
"There's a whole host of things we can do to put more pressure on Moscow and therefore negotiate with them from a position of strength… The last three presidents unfortunately have been wrong-footed by Vladimir Putin every time they tried to go to him with an open hand."
The Washington Times reports that President-elect Trump accepts Russia was to blame for campaign season hacking, but said other countries, but noted other countries also hack the U.S.
The newspaper notes Trump has said it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the U.S. to get along with Russia and Putin.
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