WASHINGTON — Leading Democratic senators want harsh new measures against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. They are also asking President Barack Obama to add a Ukrainian rebel group to a U.S. terrorism blacklist.
In a letter to Obama, Sens. Bob Menendez, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin say Russia's defense, energy and finance sectors should be targeted for sanctions. They say Russian must halt weapons, equipment and training to separatists in eastern Ukraine. The senators also ask Obama to consider designating the "Donetsk (dah-NETSK') People's Republic" a foreign terrorist organization.
Menendez chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feinstein the Intelligence Committee and Levin the Armed Services Committee.
The U.S. has said the Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 aboard was brought down by a missile fired from an area controlled by the pro-Russian separatists. The three senators say Russia incites and recruits insurgents, who've hindered investigators. They say, quote, "These contemptible actions cannot go unanswered."