The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says Russian President Vladimir Putin bears direct responsibility for the downing of the passenger jet over eastern Ukraine last week.
“I think Putin is responsible and complicit for what happened,” Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I believe that we are — Mr. Putin is — returning to a Cold War mentality.”
“We’re seeing that happen with Crimea being annexed, we’re seeing that happen with the Russian-speaking peoples in Ukraine and all throughout the Baltic states now where I think his long-term strategy is to bring back into the fold, if you will, the glory days of the empire, these Baltic nations with the Russian-speaking people,” he continued.
Mr. McCaul said it’s possible for Russia to be an ally in efforts against terrorism and going after groups like al Qaeda, for example, but that the downed airliner calls for tougher measures than the most recent round of sanctions, which included sanctions on two major Russian banks and energy companies.
“Let’s face it: the President of the United States is the only person who can stop Putin from this act of aggression,” Mr. McCaul said, though he did note that Europe has a role to play.