The Obama administration has officially accused the Russians of supplying Ukrainian pro-Russia separatists with the rockets to execute last week's attack which took down Malaysian Airlines flight 17. Obama spoke this morning on the issue of Ukraine.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. officials said intelligence also showed the missile batteries used in the attack were returned to Russian soil shortly after the jetliner crashed, suggesting an attempted coverup.” Secretary of State John Kerry also told one of the Sunday shows, “We know with confidence – with confidence – that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point in time.”
Then there has been the subsequent handling of the crash investigations, including allegations of the haphazard way in which these separatists are treating the bodies of the victims.
This has finally pushed Europe toward agreeing with the United States that more pressure is needed on Russia. If you will recall, Europe did not go along with the latest round of economic sanctions imposed by the United States. It is important that Russia be forced to disarm these rebels in Eastern Ukraine, in order to establish stability in the region. The President of France is quoted as saying, “"If Russia does not immediately take the necessary measures, consequences will be decided by the European Union when its foreign-affairs council meets on Tuesday.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein said over the weekend that Putin has to “man up.” She wants him to step up and talk to the world, and if the MH17 disaster was a mistake than just admit it. The Kremlin website released a video overnight where Putin promised “to do everything in Russia's power” end violence in Eastern Ukraine and help the international team in its investigation of the MH17 tragedy. Obama, speaking this morning on the South Lawn, said that he appreciates Putin's words but those words have to be supported by actions.
Before the plane was shot down, polling done by Politico found the following: “Asked whether the U.S should do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, just 17 percent answered in the affirmative. Thirty-one percent said the current policy is correct and 34 percent said the U.S. should be less involved.” I would imagine that the downing of MH17 might have changed public opinion here, as it seems to have changed things for the Europeans.