Kentucky lawmakers want to see more sanctions against Russia from U.S. and Europe after plane crash in Ukraine

07/21/2014 02:53 PM

After a plane crash in the Russian rebel-controlled region of the Ukraine killing nearly 300 people, U.S. lawmakers—including members of Kentucky’s federal delegation—are looking to find a solution to the conflict in the region.

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 298 passengers from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur Thursday was shot down when flying over an area of Eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian rebels.

The United States has concluded that a missile shot down the plane but have not been willing to place blame on who was behind the attack. Ukrainian officials are confident pro-Russian separatists are behind the crash. But Russian President Vladamir Putin has been critical of the Ukraine and said the crash would not have happened if the conflict between the two countries had not been renewed in recent months.

Before speaking at a Chamber of Commerce event Monday, Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul told Pure Politics that he supports sanctions against Russia from the United States and added that it would have to be a joint effort with allies.

“I think the only response that would have any effect in the Ukraine with trying to modulate or tamp down Russia’s behavior or get Russia to act in a civilized way and respect the sovereignty of countries needs to be a unified response with Europe,” Paul said.

Paul added a remark about the United States having potential problems with some European countries like Germany because of information revealed about the National Security Agency’s data collection which showed the agency had conducted mass surveillance of German citizens — and eavesdropped on the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville, the Kentucky delegation’s lone Democrat, expressed similar sentiments when in an interview with Pure Politics saying the United States needs to express outrage over the crash and examine what can be done to make sure weapons like the one used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines flight stay out of the hands of groups like the Russian rebels.

“We have to use whatever leverage we have, whether economic or diplomatic, to put pressure on the Russians to try and curb these rouge elements in the Ukraine,” Yarmuth said.

While some sanctions have already been leveled against Russia, Yarmuth said there are still other options the U.S. could use to put pressure on the area which would also require calling on Europe to join America in placing harsher sanctions on Russia.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said after the plane crash that if Russians were behind it then there would be “hell to pay.” But Yarmuth said that the answer to the conflict from the United States will not be military based and added that he believes McCain has “outlived his usefulness as a legitimate dispassionate commentator on the international scene.”

“What time has proven over and over again— whether it goes back to Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, you name it— military force does not solve these long term problems, but economics can and diplomatic efforts can,” Yarmuth said (at 3:30 in video below). “Right now, the world is so inter-connected that if you want to be a player on the international, global economy you’ve got to be willing to co-operate. So I think the leverage there is not military anymore.”

To see what Congressman Yarmuth and U.S. Sen. Paul had to say about other international conflicts in Iraq and Israel, tune into Pure Politics at 7 and 11:30 pm ET


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