Sen. John McCain responded to Vladimir Putin's recent New York Times op-ed with an attack on the Russian president, saying he rules "by corruption, repression and violence."
In the piece published on the website Pravda — not to be confused with the venerable Communist Party newspaper of the same name — McCain addressed Russians saying, "I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today."
He then goes on to heap criticism on Putin and his policies, particularly Putin's alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which he called one of "the world's most offensive and threatening tyrannies."
How has he strengthened Russia's international stature? By allying Russia with some of the world's most offensive and threatening tyrannies. By supporting a Syrian regime that is murdering tens of thousands of its own people to remain in power and by blocking the United Nations from even condemning its atrocities. By refusing to consider the massacre of innocents, the plight of millions of refugees, the growing prospect of a conflagration that engulfs other countries in its flames an appropriate subject for the world's attention. He is not enhancing Russia's global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.
Update — 11:30 a.m. ET: Russians React
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has a roundup of some responses to McCain's column.