Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says Russian President Vladimir Putin bears responsibility for the crash of the Malaysian passenger plane.
“I think if there were any doubt it should be gone by now, that Vladimir Putin, certainly indirectly through his support of the insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the supply of advanced weapons and, frankly, the presence of Russian Special Forces and intelligence agents bears responsibility for what happened,” she said in an interview with CNN that will air on Sunday.
The plane was shot down last week in eastern Ukraine and nearly 300 people on board were killed.
The United States has accused pro-Russian forces in Ukraine of shooting down the Malaysian plane. However, Moscow has denied the allegation.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly threatened Russia with more sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
The Obama administration has been pressing the European Union to ratchet up economic sanctions on Russia.
“We have to up the sanctions that are required. The United States has continued to move forward on that, Europe has been reluctant,” Clinton said.
“They need to understand they must stand up to Vladimir Putin.”
She also noted that Putin “has a strategic plan in mind, the Eurasian Union, which would be in competition to Europe.”
“His continuing efforts to intimidate Europeans — not just through energy, but through interfering in elections, putting money behind buying press outlets in European countries … trying to discourage countries like Ukraine being able to join the European Union,” she claimed.
“And if the United States and Europe don’t present a united front, I think Putin is the kind of man who will go as far as he can get away with. I think he is still smart enough and cautious enough to be pushed back. But there has to be a push in order to make that happen.”
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