On Monday at the White House, President Obama urged Russian President Vladmir Putin to order Russian separatists in Ukraine to allow international investigators unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
"Given its direct influence over the separatists," Obama said, "Russia, and President Putin in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least they can do."
The president said he would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, but made it clear that more economic sanctions are on the way if Russia continues to intervene in that country. "If Russia continues to violate Ukraine's sovereignty," he said, "and to back these separatists, Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community and the costs for Russia's behavior will only continue to increase," said Obama.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy took an even harder line on sanctions in an interview on Monday morning on CNN. Murphy, who serves as chair of the the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on European Affairs, said that if the crash site is not open to investigators by Tuesday, Europe should impose a "crippling round of sanctions."
"We've got to show him that there are consequences," Murphy said, "and that we are at the right moment to do that. The Russian economy is weak. They are in recession. There is a huge capital flight of billions of dollars coming out of the country. If you can tighten the noose around their economy, Putin will blink here."
Murphy told CNN's Carol Costello that a good first step would be for the EU to join the United States in cutting off credit lines to Russian energy companies through Russian energy banks.