WASHINGTON (CBS News) - Secretary of State John Kerry spoke out Sunday on "Face The Nation" about the unfolding crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, conflicts that have left hundreds of civilians dead
Kerry blamed Russia for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was shot down Thursday with about 300 people onboard in a region of Eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Kerry said there is mounting evidence of extensive ties between the Kremlin and separatists fighting in Ukraine.
"The Russians have armed the separatists, trained the separatists, support the separatists, and have to date not publicly called on the separatists to stand down or to be part of the solution," he said.
He said because Russia supports the rebels, President Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for ensuring investigators have access to the crash site and that "drunken separatist soldiers" don't interfere. His comments on the tragedy and its aftermath were picked up by the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, National Journal, UPI, The Week and The Fiscal Times.
Turning to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which intensified over the weekend, Kerry reiterated Israel's right to defend itself against "an intransigent Hamas that was offered a cease-fire and didn't want to take it." Israel invaded Gaza late last week, and casualties on both sides have risen as a result.
Kerry is on his way to the region to meet with both sides and try to negotiate a cease-fire. His comments on the bloody conflict were covered by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, AFP and The Hill.
Later on "Face The Nation," host Bob Schieffer interviewed Rep. Peter King, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. The New York Republican said he strongly supports new, harsh economic sanctions against Russia and slammed Putin for giving weapons to separatist "thugs" in Ukraine.
"This is going back to the days of Stalin and Khrushchev and Brezhnev in the way he is responding to a crisis which he caused and which everyone knows he did, and yet he goes underground," King said. "This is what a mafia guy does. This is what a goon does, not a world leader, not someone in the civilized world."