A U.S. senator said Thursday he wants to see Russia kicked out of the Group of Eight "for a while" and denied entry into the World Trade Organization as punishment for its actions in Georgia.
Sen. Joe Lieberman spoke in Warsaw after visiting Georgia alongside fellow senator Lindsey Graham, a trip they described as a mission of solidarity with the U.S. ally. They were representing the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We're not going to let Russia, so soon after the Iron Curtain fell, to again draw a dividing line across Europe," said Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut and close friend of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain. "It is simply unacceptable."
He advocated a range of steps that the world community should take to "hold Russia accountable," including expelling it from the G-8, which includes the world's leading industrialized nations, and keeping it out of the WTO.
"The G-8 should become for a while the G-7 until Russia proves that it is capable of being a law-abiding member of the international community," he said.
He said he and Graham also want the U.S. Congress to refuse to ratify a pending U.S.-Russian deal on civilian nuclear cooperation, and have signed a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush asking him not to present the plan to Congress.
Lieberman also renewed a call for the Georgian military to be beefed up "with sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-tank systems."
Asked if Russia should also be stripped of the right to host the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, he said that step should be taken under consideration later.
Graham described Russia's military action in Georgia and its continued military presence there as "an effort by Russia to intimidate its neighbors."
"The Russians are hell-bent on recapturing some of the territory that they believe is rightfully theirs, that now is in the hands of people indigenous to the area who are embracing freedom and democracy," said Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.
Both expressed strong support for a missile defense deal between Poland and the United States, signed Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.
Russia has said agreeing to host a missile defense base will expose Poland to attack, possibly even with nuclear weapons. Moscow has rejected U.S. reassurances that it is only meant as a defensive protection against nations like Iran.