Clinton Says EU Must Lead Response to Plane Downing

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was probably pro-Russian insurgents who shot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine, and the onus will be on Europe to respond.

“Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this” if Russia is found culpable, Clinton said in an interview with Charlie Rose that aired last night on PBS and on Bloomberg Television. “There should be outrage in European capitals.”

Clinton, who served as President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state and is considering a 2016 presidential run, said there’s “some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents” who shot down the plane yesterday, killing 298 people.

In the same interview, designed to promote her memoir, Clinton addressed the reasons she might not run for the White House. They include her desire to devote time to the grandchild her daughter, Chelsea, is carrying and an ambivalence rooted in the personal toll taken by the presidency.

“Because I know so much about the job and how hard it is, I am very struck by the historic nature of a campaign that I might in the future undertake,” she said of the choice she faces in deciding whether to run. “But I also know that the job has only gotten harder. The job is an all-consuming commitment, for obvious reasons.”

Europe’s Energy

Still, in the interview Clinton didn’t hesitate to jump into the policy debates of the day -- the downing of the jet and Israel’s sending ground forces into the Gaza Strip.

She told Rose that Europeans should join the U.S. in imposing tougher sanctions on Russia, look beyond Russian natural gas provider OAO Gazprom for new sources of energy, and provide more support for the Ukrainian government.

She said that sanctions alone may not be enough to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves toward Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March and has been accused of fomenting instability in eastern Ukraine, a claim that Putin’s government has denied.

“Putin is pushing the envelope as far as he thinks he can,” Clinton said. “The only language he understands is one that is very tough, very patient, very clear. The sanctions are an important piece of that and there is evidence that they are having an effect, but sanctions alone will not necessarily restrain him or change his calculus.”

‘Easy Question’

Rose pressed Clinton, who negotiated a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in 2012, to take a position on the movement of Israeli soldiers into Palestinian territory.

“Do you support Israelis in invading Gaza?” he asked.

“You know, I think the ...” she started, before Rose interrupted.

“It’s an easy question,” he said.

“No,” she replied. “It’s not an easy question, because I would prefer not. That’s why I flew from Cambodia to try to prevent an invasion last time.”

The Rose interview with Clinton will be broadcast again tonight at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., New York time, on Bloomberg TV.

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