The downing of a Malaysia Airlines Flight #17 in eastern Ukraine should put an end to Russian President Vladimir Putin's gamesmanship in the region, says Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers.
"This certainly eliminates Putin's plausible deniability. And he's been operating that way in Ukraine since the beginning of this conflict and him taking Crimea," Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."
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Russian-aligned separatists have been blamed on the crash that killed 298 civilians. The United States believes the rebels shot down the plane, believing it to be a Ukrainian military cargo jet.
Rogers said the missile system had to have been in Russian hands "at least at some point," as it would have required training and maintenance.
"These things are delicate, sophisticated and highly lethal, as we've seen," Rogers said.
President Barack Obama announced more sanctions against Russian military and financial companies on Wednesday, one day before the airliner was shot down. Rogers said that while he welcomes those sanctions, he would like to see Obama rally Europe to join him.
"Phone calls with Putin, that's all wonderful. This is as serious as it gets," Rogers said.
The British and Dutch prime ministers, whose countries had passengers on the downed plane, have announced a willingness to toughen sanctions. Much of Europe buys its natural gas from Russia, creating a sticky diplomatic issue.
Rogers said he also said the United States needs to end what he termed its "tepid response" by increasing intelligence cooperation, logistics, training opportunities for the Ukrainian military.
So far, the United States has sent only MREs – meals ready to eat.
"That's just not enough," Rogers said.
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