Senate leaders want more Russian sanctions

Senators want tough response to Russia on Malaysia Airlines crash.

By Daniel J. Graeber

MOSCOW, July 23 (UPI) -- In light of Russia's stance on the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane, three U.S. Senators said broader sanctions on Russia's energy sector are warranted.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was a growing body of evidence to suggest Russia may be tied to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week. The passenger jet crashed near the eastern Ukrainian border with Russia, an area of operations for pro-Russian separatists.


U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee called on President Barack Obama to take a tough stance on Russia in light of the tragedy.

"We write to express our outrage over the wanton destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and to ask that you consider imposing significant additional sanctions to penalize the Russian Federation for its material support of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic [in eastern Ukraine], as well as to deter further hostile and destabilizing actions against Ukraine," their letter read.


Last week, the U.S. government issued sanctions against Russian independent oil company Rosneft, Russian independent gas producer Novatek and the financial arm of Russian natural gas company Gazprom in response to lingering crises in Ukraine.

The senators said Tuesday in their letter to Obama broad sanctions are needed against Russia in reaction to the escalating crises.

"We also urge you to give additional consideration to imposing broader sanctions on Russia's energy and financial industries, as well as other sectors of the Russian economy as appropriate," they said.

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