Russian President Vladimir Putin should become an "international pariah" for his country's role in shooting down a Malaysian passenger airliner in addition to its myriad duplicitous actions in Ukraine and elsewhere on the world stage, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois tells Newsmax TV.
"Anywhere we know that Putin has assets — he's sometimes estimated to be the richest guy in the world because of some of the things he has stolen from the state — let's freeze those and take them," Kinzinger suggests. "Let's make it very painful for Vladimir Putin."
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He cautioned that doing so might not break Putin, but would help diminish his popularity at home, where his approval rating is 80 percent.
"We need to chip away at that. When the Russians start to feel their life is not quite as good as it was before Putin, or in the early days of Putin, that'll be the thing that really undermines him," Kinzinger said.
On Thursday, a surface-to-air missile shot down
a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet carrying 298 people in Ukraine, about 35 miles from the Russian border.
Kinzinger, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran who is a pilot as well as a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said on "America's Forum" that it's "pretty obvious that [Putin] had a lot to do with this, whether he directly supplied the missile or whether it was just his support of these pro-Russian rebels who were putting, you know, frankly, folks untrained in spotting military equipment in charge of a very complex weapon system. Regardless, he bears the responsibility."
President Barack Obama has failed yet again, Kinzinger said, to "turn up the heat and show leadership" in responding to the international incident. Instead, British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken the lead.
reports that Britain is pressuring other European countries "to extend travel bans, asset freezes and business sanctions on any individual or entity in Russia deemed to be influencing or supporting the Putin regime."
Kinzinger says the world's response to Putin and the Russian separatists ought to include "tougher sanctions, tougher penalties, restart our missile defense, put troops around Ukraine to support our NATO allies."
He added that the Europeans need to take a hard line instead of waffling, as they have been.
"We ought to be dragging the Europeans with us. It's time that they . . . quit complaining, quit talking about just how bad their situation is, and start playing a role in the world again if they want to have any kind of power, and it's time the Europeans come along with us."
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