Sen. Kelly Ayotte says the shooting down
of a Malaysian airliner near the Ukraine-Russia border on Thursday calls for even tougher sanctions against Russia.
President Barack Obama has announced more sanctions
against the Moscow government, targeting its financial and defense sectors. The sanctions are meant to punish Russia for its moves against U.S. ally Ukraine.
But American officials believe that either Russian or Russian-allied separatist troops near the Ukraine-Russia border are responsible for firing a surface-to-air missile on Thursday that took down a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 295 people aboard.
"Russia has their fingerprints all over it either way," Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
If an investigation shows Russia or Russian-back separatists were behind the attack it will be a "game-changer," she said.
The next step, Ayotte said, would be "Iranian-type sanctions" in addition to military support for Ukraine in an effort to alienate Russia.
"This is beyond a crime. This is an act of terrorism," Ayotte said. "Unfortunately, we have not taken as tough a steps as we should have in advance of this."
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton told Van Susteren he hopes the attack serves as "a wake-up call to those who have only dimly seen what Putin and the Russians are up to."
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