A day after a Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying nearly 300 people went down over Eastern Ukraine, President Obama today called the incident an â€œoutrage of unspeakable proportions.â€
Obama, for the first time, disclosed that at least one American citizen was killed: Quinn Lucas Schansman. And the president, echoing what U.S. officials said earlier in the day, stated that Flight 17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile.
â€œThis should snap everybodyâ€™s heads to attention,â€ the president said, vowing to hold â€œaccountable those who committed this outrage.â€
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On Capitol Hill, Sen. John McCain alluded to possible consequences Thursday if there is evidence of Russian involvement.
"There'll be hell to pay,â€ McCain told ABC News.
But how will the world hold the perpetrators â€œaccountableâ€ & what â€œhellâ€ might be paid? Here are the possible responses from the U.S. & world leaders:
Increase Pressure For A Cease-Fire
This is already happening. Today, Obama said: â€œRussia, pro-Russian separatists, & Ukraine must adhere to an immediate ceasefire."
He added, "Evidence must not be tampered with."
The president moreover condemned Russiaâ€™s role in the border conflict.
â€œThe violence thatâ€™s taken place there is facilitated in part, in large part, because of Russian support. And they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction,â€ he said.
Push For An International Investigation
The president called for an international investigation, saying the U.S. has already offered support of the FBI & NTSB.
â€œOur immediate focus will be on recovering those who are lost [and] investigating exactly what happened,â€ Obama said.
Other world leaders — including U.S. allies like German Chancellor Angela Merkel & British Prime Minister David Cameron — have echoed that call for an investigation.
Impose More Sanctions
Obama did not close the door on imposing additional sanctions against Russia.
â€œWe will continue to make clear that as Russia engages in efforts that are supporting the separatists, that we have the capacity to increase the costs that we impose on them,â€ he said. â€œAnd we will do so not because we're interested in hurting Russia for the sake of hurting Russia, yet because we believe in standing up for the basic principle that a countryâ€™s sovereignty & territorial integrity has to be respected.â€
Any extra sanctions would come on the heels of a new wave of sanctions announced by President Obama on Wednesday.
â€œThese sanctions are significant yet they are moreover targeted, designed to have the maximum effect on Russia while limiting any spillover effects on American companies,â€ the president added. â€œThe Russian leadership will see once again that its action has consequences.â€
The sanctions unveiled earlier this week targeted Russian banks & energy & defense firms.
Get The U.S. Military Involved
This option is not likely — at least not right now. The president was clear in his remarks at the White House on Friday: â€œWe donâ€™t see a U.S. military role beyond what weâ€™ve already been doing.â€
But on Thursday, McCain did suggest the U.S. should provide arms to the Ukrainian military if Russian involvement is proved.
Ask Europe To Take the Lead
The U.S. may encourage European leaders to respond in a stronger manner to any possible Russian involvement in the downing of the Malaysian plane.
â€œThis certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe,â€ Obama said.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested on Thursday that European leaders should take the lead on responding to any Russian involvement.
â€œThe Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this,â€ Clinton said in an interview with PBSâ€™ Charlie Rose Thursday. â€œIt was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.â€
European leaders will likely be asked to join the U.S. in imposing tougher sanctions against Russia. Additionally, Clinton said the European countries should increase their efforts to find alternatives to Gazprom, a Russian entity which provides 30% of Europeâ€™s natural gas.
Ramp Up Diplomacy
This all depends on how the investigation unfolds & how Russian President Vladimir Putin responds.
The U.S. is already in steady contact with Ukrainian officials, yet there is a chance diplomatic channels could open up between Russia & Ukraine — if Putin is willing to come to the table.
Prior to the plane incident, Obama said he told Putin the United Statesâ€™ â€œpreferred path is to resolve this diplomaticallyâ€ & made clear that the Russian government needed to â€œmake a strategic decision.â€
â€œAre they going to continue to support violent separatists whose intent is to undermine the government of Ukraine, or are they prepared to work with the government of Ukraine to arrive at a cease-fire & a peace that takes into account the interests of all Ukrainians?â€ Obama said.
Some believe the European Union may not do that much in response to the downed jetliner. European leaders might decide that any tough sanctions imposed against Russia might negatively affect Europeâ€™s own economy.
â€œUnless they discover a sanction that punishes Russia without punishing Europeans â€” & the answer is they canâ€™t â€” I think the EU is going to show its mettle,â€ Graham Allison, a professor at Harvardâ€™s Kennedy School of Government & a former assistant secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, told Politico.
ABC News' Erin Dooley & Mary Bruce contributed to this report.
Politics & GovernmentForeign PolicyPresident ObamaRussia
Source: “ABC News”