New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte said Europe must get on board with tougher economic sanctions against Russia in the wake of the airliner attack in Ukraine — adding the U.S. should “shame” their European allies if need be.
The senator spoke Friday with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell about the missile attack on a Malaysian Airlines jet that killed 298 passengers in the skies over war-torn eastern Ukraine. Though no one has claimed responsibility, evidence points to Moscow-backed Russian separatists as the culprits.
The United States imposed tougher economic sanctions on Russia less than 24 hours before the attack, but some European leaders — perhaps worried that Russia may cut off energy exports to their countries — balked at punishing Russian President Vladimir Putin for his support of anti-Kiev fighters.
“Is there anything we can do to encourage Europe to stand up?” Mitchell asked, noting that French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi have refused to participate in tough sanctions.
“Well if this turns out what we think it’s going to be, given the strong circumstantial evidence of the Russian-backed separatists bringing down the plane — Europeans were murdered in this,” Ayotte replied. “This is an international outrage.”
“And the Europeans — if they aren’t willing to do the right thing, in light of this commercial plane going down and the innocent people that have been murdered — I think it’s up to the United States to really put on the pressure to shame them into stepping up their economic sanctions,” the senator declared.