Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has blood on his hands, but his de facto ally Angela Merkel still speaks about "difficulties in the partnership, which we have to overcome"(!):
"Events have shown there must be a political solution, and here it‘s all about Russia‘s responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine right now," she said at her annual press conference in Berlin.
She criticized President Vladimir Putin for failing to act to end the fighting in east Ukraine, where the Kremlin is believed to have sway over separatist rebels, who have rejected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko‘s offer to extend a ceasefire.
"That gesture of goodwill was not used," said Merkel. "The Russian president has influence over these Russian separatists."
Merkel keeps in regular contact with Putin and said she expected to speak with him again soon.
"I can see no other way than to speak to Putin," she said. "There are difficulties in the partnership, which we have to overcome."
France and Italy are even more reluctant to seriously challenge Putin, as US senator Kelly Ayotte has pointed out:
The United States imposed tougher economic sanctions on Russia less than 24 hours before the attack, but some European leaders — perhaps worried that Russia may cut off energy exports to their countries — balked at punishing Russian President Vladimir Putin for his support of anti-Kiev fighters.
“Is there anything we can do to encourage Europe to stand up?” Mitchell asked, noting that French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi have refused to participate in tough sanctions.
“Well if this turns out what we think it’s going to be, given the strong circumstantial evidence of the Russian-backed separatists bringing down the plane — Europeans were murdered in this,” Ayotte replied. “This is an international outrage.”
“And the Europeans — if they aren’t willing to do the right thing, in light of this commercial plane going down and the innocent people that have been murdered — I think it’s up to the United States to really put on the pressure to shame them into stepping up their economic sanctions,” the senator declared.