Rep. Kinzinger: Downing of Malaysian Jet a Wakeup Call for Europe

Friday, 18 Jul 2014 09:36 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The only good thing to result from the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 would be that it could serve as a wakeup call for Europe that the conflict in Ukraine posed a threat to their citizens, said Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Europeans so far had been fairly "blasé" about Russia's aggression earlier this year in overtaking Crimea and mobilizing troops into eastern Ukraine, Kinzinger told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." He credited Europe's economic dependence on Russia for their hesitancy in confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Story continues below video.

"As tragic as this is, if we do want to see the only good thing to come out of this, is maybe it's a wake-up call to the Europeans that, you know what, their citizens are actually a threat here, too, and we've got to stand against this aggression," the Illinois Republican said Friday.

A missile is suspected to have hit Malaysian Flight 17 as it flew 33,000 feet above eastern Ukraine. The jet crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel could take the helm and urge fellow European leaders to stand together against Russia, Kinzinger said, leading the United States and Europe to "have these energy and banking sanctions together to have a real impact on Vladimir Putin."

The tragedy was also an opportunity for President Barack Obama to take a stand and recognize the conflict in Ukraine was "a fight that now puts American lives and European lives in danger."

He said the incident proved it was important for the president to "send a strong message" and "show the NATO alliance stands with its NATO partners, especially in the NATO areas encircling Ukraine."

Kinzinger explained the U.S. could also "stand up and provide more than body armor, start to provide weaponry and everything else to the Ukrainians." In addition, he said the incident could prove to work against Putin.

"This could be the moment that Putin's gains in Ukraine were very much reversed," he said.

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