By Rebecca Shabad - 07/22/14 10:37 AM EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “literally getting away with murder.”
Putin was behind the crash last Thursday of Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, McCain suggested, which left nearly 300 people dead.
“The point here is that Vladimir Putin is literally getting away with murder — and I mean literally — and we are doing little in response,” McCain said on CNN.
McCain accused President Obama of not doing enough and not leading as this crisis has unfolded.
CNN host Chris Cuomo, who’s reporting from the crash site in Ukraine, pointed out that Obama was clear in saying on Monday morning that Putin must ensure international investigators have unfettered access to the site.
McCain, however, suggested Obama should be more forceful in placing the blame squarely on Putin.
“The president should be saying exactly what I just told you, that this is the fault of Vladimir Putin, and Vladimir Putin will be held responsible. That should be his opening statement — comment instead of, well, maybe they have to clear it up,” he said.
McCain said it doesn’t matter whether a Russian officer or a pro-Russian separatist pushed the button to launch the missile that made the plane crash. Putin, McCain said, “is the cause of all this,” mentioning the unrest in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.
McCain said he recommends that the United States imposes sector sanctions against Russia but said it’s likely the U.S. would have to do it alone.
The senator said he’s “confident” Europe won’t do anything serious in response to the crash.
European leaders met Tuesday to discuss the possibility of additional sanctions.