Rep. Peter King: Don't Allow Russian Airliners to Land in US

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 10:22 PM

By Greg Richter

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Rep. Peter King doesn't want Russian airliners to be given landing rights at American or European airports until compensation is made for the takedown of a Malaysia Airlines 777 on Thursday.

"Why should Aeroflot be allowed to land in our airports after something like this until Russia admits what happened, until they make full compensation, and until they make sure it doesn't happen again?" the New York Republican said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File."

Russian-allied and -trained separatists are suspected of hitting the airliner with a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, killing 498 aboard. Early reports indicated 23 Americans were on the flight, but the U.S. government has made no such acknowledgment.

King said the United States typically waits until next of kin are notified before saying whether Americans were onboard.

King said the downing of the plane was likely a mistake rather than an intentional act of war, but that Russia still should admit its role.

Militants in eastern Ukraine have shot down Ukrainian military cargo planes in the past few days, and militia commander Igor Strelkov tweeted "We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'" after the Malaysian plane was shot down. His tweet was deleted after it became clear that it was a civilian passenger plane that had been downed.

Still, King said, the act was "criminal negligence," and a price should be paid.

King also joined critics of President Barack Obama for not canceling a private Democratic fundraiser in New York City to focus on the dual crises in Ukraine and the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza. King said that Obama appears to be detached, noting he did the same thing immediately after the Benghazi attack in 2012.

"Any president can make a mistake, but this is a pattern," King said. "In times of crisis, he seems to just zone out."

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