Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said Russia is interfering with Ukrainian elections in the eastern portion of the country and that Ukraine's frontrunner to win the presidency wants the United States to step up military aid.
"Obviously in the eastern part of Ukraine, in Donetsk and Luhansk, those elections are being disrupted for many Ukrainians. And [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is the one that can dial this up or dial this down," she told "Fox News Sunday."
Billionaire candy-maker Petro Poroshenko is expected to emerge the winner of Ukraine's election, which occurred Sunday, though he will likely need to win a mid-June runoff. He would take over the reins of a country in crisis, which has had to defend itself from Russian incursions in the east.
Ayotte noted Poroshenko already said he would not recognize Russia's March annexation of Crimea and that he wants the U.S. to increase its military support.
"I think that as you look, he will try to reach out to eastern Ukraine to establish more communication and ties there for the people who are there, but he also wants us to continue — and I think there's a general feeling here of pushing back on Putin so they can have security in that area, because obviously the violence that's being fomented interferes with unifying the country," Ayotte said.