Hillary Clinton Talks MH17 With PBS' Charlie Rose, Explains What Europe Should Do
On Thursday, the world was left stunned when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine. The Boeing 777 passenger jet was struck and destroyed by what's believed by U.S. intelligence officials to have been a surface-to-air missile, leaving all 298 people aboard the flight dead. With a media appearance on PBS' Charlie Rose scheduled for Thursday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out on the tragic MH17 attack, and what ought to be done next.
In just one day since the plane was brought down, a lot of information has spilled out about what may have happened, who may have been to blame, and what the next actions by the U.S. and international governments might be. But when speaking to Rose, Clinton was willing to elaborate on her factual interpretation of the crisis, and what she'd ultimately want to see done if, as Obama and others have indicated, it's shown to have been the work of pro-Russian separatists within Ukraine.
Well, the questions I'd be asking are, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment, it's obviously an anti-aircraft missile, who could have had the expertise to do that ... there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents. Now, how we determine that will require some forensics, but then if there is evidence pointing in that direction, the equipment had to come from Russia.
The equipment in question is believed to be a Buk, a mobile surface-to-air missile system which is possessed by both the Russian and Ukrainian governments. A report in the Daily Mail indicated a similar Buk missile system rolled into a rebel-controlled town in Eastern Ukraine hours prior to the crash.
Clinton said the reaction by the European community should be three-pronged — and, as is often the case in international politics, the first step was tighter economic sanctions.
One, toughen their own sanctions. Make it very clear there has to be a price to pay. Number two, immediately accelerate efforts and announce they are doing so to find alternatives to Gazprom. And thirdly, do more in concert with us to support the Ukrainians. There has to be more help on their borders in order to prevent this porous border allowing Russians to go back and forth, insurgents to do the same.
Gazprom is Russia's colossus of the natural gas industry — formerly the state-run Ministry of Gas Industry under the Soviet Union, it became a private company amid the USSR's collapse in the late 80s and early 90s. It's currently one of the world's most powerful and profitable energy companies.
Which means, basically, that Clinton's view is pretty clear. She's inclined to expect the same thing intelligence agencies have suggested — that pro-Russian forces were to blame for the downed passenger flight — and she thinks Europe should engage in an aggressive effort to decouple itself from one of Russia's most integral industries.
Obviously, international politics on this scale require incredible tact and precision, and Clinton she made clear, there's a level of forensic certainty that has to be reached before committing to any course of action for certain. But with the whole world watching, and governments scrambling, more clarity about the tragic incident will emerge in the days and weeks to come.