By Keith Laing - 07/18/14 11:32 AM EDT
A member of the House Armed Services Committee said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “bears all the responsibility” for apparently shooting down a commercial airliner over Ukraine on Thursday.
Putin has said that Ukraine bears responsibility for shooting down the jetliner, a Malaysia Airlines flight that was carrying nearly 300 people.
However, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that the Russian leader was really the one to blame for the downed jetliner.
“He has opened a war zone in the middle of the Russian area that borders upon Ukraine,” Turner continued. “With those responsibilities of having Ukraine become a war zone, I think Vladimir Putin bears all the responsibility.”
Ukrainian officials have alleged that the flight was shot down by Russian separatists who have been battling Kiev in a dispute over the country's shared border with Russia.
Vice President Biden also suggested on Thursday the plane was intentionally "blown out of the sky" during a speech on Thursday afternoon.
Putin has called the incident a “terrible tragedy” and disavowed blame for the plane being shot down.
"I would like to note that this tragedy would not have occurred if there were peace in that country, or in any case, if hostilities had not resumed in southeast Ukraine," he said in a statement early Friday in Russia. "And certainly, the government over whose territory it occurred is responsible for this terrible tragedy."
Turner said did not believe the Russian leader’s denials, however.
“Vladimir Putin needs to be held accountable,” he said. “This plane came down as a result of Vladimir Putin deciding that he was going to open a war zone in Europe. He needs to pay a price for that and certainly all of our allies need to come together jointly.”