03/12/2014 04:43 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2014

Rand Paul Criticizes Loan To Ukraine As A 'Gift' To Russia


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) came out Wednesday against loans for Ukraine, because he believes the money would benefit Russia.

"The loan assistance I believe will be a gift and a benefit to Russia," he said. "Ukrainians owe about $20 [billion] to $30 billion to the Russians, both to private Russian banks as well as to the gas entity in Russia."

"I think it sends the wrong signal," he said. "Ukrainian debt is rated CCC-," he said, adding that there was "no expectation that they could pay it back."

"This is a brand new government. This is a government that just came into existence, with maybe many questions of how they came into existence," said Paul. "We don't currently have a president in Ukraine."

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, was appointed by its parliament in late February.

Paul offered an amendment to strike the loans, which subsequently failed on a voice vote. (A request for a copy of the amendment was not immediately returned from Paul's office.)

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) politely rebuked Paul. "While Russia may be a creditor, Ukraine has lots of creditors and somehow or another, they've got to make a transition from where they are."

"The worst thing we could do right now is to say, 'We aren't going to assist you,'" said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).