By Mario Trujillo - 07/21/14 10:25 AM EDT
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Monday called on the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on Russia that would bring President Vladimir Putin "to his knees."
Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, blamed Putin for the deaths of nearly 300 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine last week. U.S. officials believe a surface-to-air missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists downed the plane.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said there is strong evidence that the plane was shot by a weapons system transferred by Russia to militants in the area. Kerry stopped short of directly blaming the Kremlin, but the United States has accused Russia of destabilizing eastern Ukraine.
Rogers said the United States and Europe have only taken tentative steps at a sanctions regime that would truly punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
He also called on the U.S. to ramp up missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, and "conduct joint military operations the way we used to do in Germany, in Poland right near the Russian sphere of influence to show that we are serious about this."
"And at the same time, I think that rallies the Europeans to finally join us in a robust sanctions program that can really bring Putin to his knees," Rogers said. "You know, there's been a lot of nibbling at the edges."
A day before the crash, the United States imposed its harshest sanctions yet on Russia, including on a number of banks, energy companies and defense firms in the country.
The European Union has imposed more limited sanctions on Russia and has been more hesitant to take tougher action because close economic ties.