Clinton points to Russian insurgents

File photo

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday afternoon that Russian insurgents are likely responsible for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine.

“There does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents,” Clinton said on “The Charlie Rose Show” Thursday. “The equipment had to have come from Russia. What more the Russians may or may not have done we don't know.”

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Malaysia Airlines tweeted it lost contact with the flight, scheduled to go from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but went down about 50 miles from the Russian border.

The flight was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members. Fox News reported that 23 Americans were on board, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki could not confirm that Thursday afternoon.

Psaki said the U.S. Embassy in Kiev was in communication with Ukrainian officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin brought up the plane in a phone call with President Obama on Thursday, the White House said. In another call, Vice President Biden offered U.S. support to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to determine the cause of the crash.

Poroshenko called the downed plane “an act of terrorism,” according to the BBC. Putin offered his condolences to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on his personal website, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev offered his condolences to the victims on Facebook, calling it a “tragedy.”

Clinton mentioned the new round of economic sanctions on Russia announced by the Obama administration on Wednesday. She said that, if evidence surfaces linking Putin's regime to the downed airplane, European nations should toughen their own sanctions on Russia, accelerate efforts for alternatives to Russian natural gas company Gazprom and work more closely with the U.S.

“I think Putin is pushing the envelope as far as he thinks he can,” Clinton said, later adding, “There should be outrage in European capitals.”

Watch the clip of Clinton here.

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