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Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), a member of the National Security Working Group,  released a statement on the situation in Ukraine:

“In the past weeks and months, Russia has continued to provide material support to the separatists aimed only at destabilizing the region and escalating the conflict.  The Ukrainian people want and deserve a unified, stable, secure, and prosperous country free from Russian interference.

The passengers on Malaysian Airlines flight 17 tragically fell victim to this conflict.  In the four days that have passed since the plane was shot down, the separatists have had the opportunity to tamper with and remove evidence from the crash site.   

The families of the victims and the international community deserve answers and justice.  An international investigation must be completed thoroughly, transparently, and without delay.  President Putin has the means to make this happen. He must immediately instruct the separatists to stand down in the area, to relinquish control of any evidence to investigators, and to transfer the bodies of the victims to Ukrainian authorities with dignity.  A ceasefire should be enforced to give the investigators unimpeded and safe access. If any evidence has been transferred across the border to Russia, it must be immediately turned over to investigators.

President Putin has already isolated Russia from the international community – first,  through its annexation of Crimea, then through inciting violence in eastern Ukraine, and now for failing to move quickly to respond to this attack.  He needs to understand that the stakes are very high.  Failure to support a real international investigation comes with consequences. The U.S. should seriously consider imposing additional sanctions in concert with our European partners against Russian leadership.  We should also consider additional steps to support the Ukrainian people in the interest of our national security. 

My thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of the victims as they mourn the loss of their loved ones and wait for answers.”

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