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John McCain Talks Ukraine, Vladimir Putin on "Late Night"

"Russia is a gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country," McCain said.

By Justin Ray
|  Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014  |  Updated 4:36 AM PDT
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John McCain talked about the power of social networking, Vladimir Putin and the crisis in Ukraine when he stopped by the "Late Night With Seth Meyers" studio Monday.

Host Meyers began his interview with the Arizona senator by mentioning the first time the two met: on the set of "Saturday Night Live" in 2002.

"You looked a lot younger," McCain joked. "You used to be very handsome."

"I was happier. The pressure of having a show, you just age immensely," Meyers quipped.

Then, Meyers brought up the fact that McCain appeared in an "SNL" sketch three days before the 2008 presidential election. He was in a mock QVC program trying to gather last minute votes alongside Tina Fey, who reprised her role as McCain's running mate, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

When asked if the appearance was a difficult decision for his campaign at the time, McCain said, "The purpose of campaigns is reaching people. What better way to reach young voters than to be on 'Saturday Night Live'? The hardest thing I think for a politician today very honestly is staying in touch with younger people and their hopes and dreams."

The 77-year-old also talked about the power the internet has in politics.

"Social networking was the major reason Obama was reelected in 2012," McCain said. "It's [also] working in countries around the world where people don't like the government that they have."

Then, Meyers mentioned the fact that McCain was sanctioned by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

"No Spring Break in Siberia and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen," McCain joked. "Doesn't Vladimir understand that there's nothing that could do me more good politically than being sanctioned by Vladimir Putin? Duh."

While discussing Putin's recent actions, Meyers brought up that McCain has been critical of Barack Obama over the president's handling of the crisis in Ukraine. The "Late Night" host then asked the senator how a president projects toughness without inciting war.

"It's most important to understand Vladimir Putin for what he is, he's an old KGB colonel who said many times the worst thing that happened in the 20th century was to break up the Soviet Union and he wants to restore them," McCain said. "Russia is a gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country."

He added that, as Ronald Reagan preached in his relations with the Soviet Union, the U.S. needs to maintain "peace through strength."

Finally, Meyers asked McCain what he would have done differently.

McCain said he would have given Ukrainians weapons to defend themselves and given them the money "that they need to get the economy on track."

"We're the most strongest and best nation in the world and we can make him make him pay a price," McCain said of Putin.

Watch part of the interview above.

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