Hawkish US Senator John McCain has pointed the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin after a passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
McCain said on Thursday if pro-Russian forces are linked to the crash, it would point directly to Putin.
“The separatists could have only gotten that capability from Russia and so therefore the culpable party here is Vladimir Putin,” he claimed.
After receiving a classified briefing from intelligence officials, US senators voiced concern over what they called suspicious circumstances of the Malaysian Airlines jet.
The aircraft was shot down over Ukraine, with all 295 people on board dead. The Boeing plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday when it crashed at an altitude of 10 kilometers above eastern Ukraine.
The Senate Intelligence Committee members said the plane likely exploded at high altitude, The Hill reported.
“The likelihood of the aircraft impacted by some sort of missile is very likely because we see that the wreckage, published reports of the wreckage is spread over a long distance,” McCain said. “The aircraft was hit before it hit the ground, was coming apart before it hit the ground.”
He also noted that the crash was not likely an accident.
The Republican senator warned that there would be “hell to pay” if Russia was involved in the crash.
“It has the earmarks of a tragic mistake made by someone who had the capability to shoot down an aircraft,” he said. “And we know at least from the last few couple of weeks that could be Russian or separatist Russian capability. If that is true, this is really, really something that commands our attention to bring this kind of thing to a halt.”
If Russia was involved in the incident, McCain said, “I think there is going to be hell to pay and should be.”
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