In quick succession Thursday afternoon, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) popped up from Capitol Hill on both MSNBC and CNN to offer his reactions to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was reportedly shot down over Eastern Ukraine. Speculating on who or what may have caused the passenger jet to crash, the senator appeared to be using the tragedy to push for further U.S. involvement in the struggle between Russia and Ukraine.
First, speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, McCain said, “to leap to conclusions could be very embarrassing and really inappropriate until we have more information.” But at the same time, he noted that there have been previous incidents just this week of Ukrainian aircraft being shot down, and started suspecting that it could have been the Russians who took down the passenger jet.
“If it’s true, this is a horrible tragedy event which was certainly unanticipated by anybody, no matter who they are,” McCain said. “And there will be incredible repercussions if this is the case… If that’s true, this is really, really something that commands our attention to bring this kind of thing to a halt in Ukraine.”
If his suspicions are true, McCain said, “I think there is going to be hell to pay and should be.”
Watch video below, via MSNBC:
About an hour later, McCain appeared with Anderson Cooper on CNN to make similar claims. McCain once again said he doesn’t want to “leap to conclusions,” but then proceeded to lay out the “stringent” sanctions he would want to see put forward against Russia if they turn out to be responsible.
“If — I keep emphasizing if — it was a missile that was launched either by Russia or the, quote, separatists, which in my view are indivisible, this would have the most profound repercussions,” McCain said. “It would open the gates for our assisting, finally, the Ukrainians, giving them some defensive weapons. The sanctions that would be imposed as a result of that, that would just be the beginning. So, I just cannot believe that no one in their right mind would want to shoot down an airliner.”
Watch video below, via CNN:
[Photo via screengrab]
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