Russian President Vladimir Putin "badly stumbled" in his handling of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and is alienating Ukrainians who were already outraged by his acts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Brzezinski, who served under former President Jimmy Carter, said Ukrainians are turning away from Putin due to his "stupidity" in deflecting blame for the airstrike that brought down the jet on July 17, killing all 298 people aboard.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are suspected of conducting the attack, but Putin blamed Ukrainian forces for striking the jetliner.
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"Putin has badly stumbled," Brzezinski said Tuesday. "He, in fact, is steadily alienating more than 40 million Ukrainians. They are already in a state of outrage over Crimea. They are now increasingly in a state of outrage over the destabilization of the eastern parts of their country. They're now entangled in this horrible tragedy."
Russians are becoming aware that Putin's "mendacity" is "disgracing him and, derivatively, much of the country," Brzezinski said. While the United States needs to push forward with further sanctions, he said Europe also needs to step up in confronting Putin.
"More important right now is European actions. They have to line up, because that's essential," he said.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright agreed on the need for "Europeans to move" to challenge Putin. She said the European countries at some point will have to come together.
"It is stunning to me how slow [the European countries] have been in all of this. Ultimately, they will have to become unified," Albright, who served under former President Bill Clinton, told the "Morning Joe" panel Tuesday.
At the same time, she said it is important for the United States to "push" against Putin, adding the Russian president had been "caught in the web of his own lies."
"He has made up the whole story from the very beginning, and now he is trying to figure out how to explain to his people that all the things he's been saying about the Ukrainians and who started what are absolutely lies," she said.
While recognizing that sanctions already imposed against Russia "have worked in a lot of different ways," Albright called upon the need to "keep isolating Putin."
"Mostly we have to keep turning up the heat on Putin, in terms of isolating him, because he is punishing his own people, to whom he is lying, and in fact, making their lives ultimately impossible," Albright said.
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