Author Con Coughlin: EU Must Join US in Russia Sanctions

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 02:14 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Russia can be forced to deal responsibly with the Malaysian jet tragedy if the European Union joins the United States in imposing crippling economic sanctions, said Con Coughlin, defense editor for London's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"Russia created this mess, and Russia has to end this mess. That's the bottom line,'' Coughlin said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"I'm personally very pleased to see [President Barack Obama] talking tough on this because far too often we in Britain think the president has run away from these sorts of global crises," said Coughlin, author of "Churchill's First War: Young Winston at War with the Afghans,'' published by Thomas Dunne Books.

"But on this occasion, he's come up to the plate, and he's saying in no uncertain terms that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin needs to get his act together or else face the consequences.''

On Monday, Obama applied pressure on Russia to force pro-Russian separatists to stop blocking an international investigation into the shoot-down of a passenger jet on July 17 that killed all 298 passengers and crew.

In remarks at the White House, Obama said Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have kept investigators away from the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, at times firing their weapons into the air.

"What are they trying to hide?" he said.

Obama said Putin and Russia have a direct responsibility to compel separatists to cooperate with the investigation — or face increased economic sanctions.

"This terrible atrocity has been a game changer, and even the reluctant Europeans now realize that we've got to do something, and this time it is serious,'' Coughlin said.

"The reason the Soviet Union collapsed 30 years ago is it went bankrupt. It is entirely feasible for a one-trick-pony economy like Russia, which is totally dependent on its energy, if we get the sanctions right, as we did in fact on Iran, you can bring a government to its knees.''

He said world leaders must tell Putin to "either resolve this and stop supporting rebels that shoot down Western airplanes, or you face the consequences, and your economy will go bankrupt, and you'll be out of power.''

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