- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2014

Former Republican Rep. Ron Paul said Sunday that the United States shares part of the blame in the attack on the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet in eastern Ukraine last week, and that the Obama administration may try and use the tragedy as an excuse to attack Russia.

The former presidential candidate argued on his website over the weekend that the Obama administration and mainstream media jumped the gun in pointing a finger at Russian separatists in the downing of flight MH 17.

“It had to be Russia; it had to be Putin, they said,” the Texas Republican wrote. “While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report.

“They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and U.S.-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych,” he said. “Without U.S.-sponsored ‘regime change,’ it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened.”

Mr. Paul argued that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain by shooting down a plane full of civilians. He did say, however, that “the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia.”

Mr. Paul compared the situation to last year when the Obama administration claimed the Assad government in Syria used poison gas against civilians in Ghouta.

SEE ALSO: Vladimir Putin pressured to aid Ukraine plane crash probe, rein in rebels

“U.S. claims led us to the brink of another war in the Middle East,” he said. “At the last minute public opposition forced Obama to back down — and we have learned since then that U.S. claims about the gas attack were false.”

Mr. Paul concluded by saying “it would be unwise” at this point to blame the Russians or the Ukrainians for Thursday’s tragedy.

“Is it so hard to simply demand a real investigation?” he asked.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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