Sen. Mike Johanns says a plane crash in eastern Ukraine could have grave international ramifications.
It appears a surface-to-air missile brought down a Malaysia Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine, killing 295.
It could have been launched by pro-Russian separatist rebels.
“Very, very risky, difficult situation and I can’t overstate how very challenging this could be in the weeks ahead,” Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call.
Details are emerging.
United States intelligence has confirmed an anti-aircraft missile shot down the commercial Boeing 777. The jet was flying its regular route from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. As many as two dozen Americans could have been on board.
Johanns says the news shook Congress.
“Everybody here is just amazed and stunned that a commercial aircraft would be shot out of the air by a surface-to-air missile,” according to Johanns.
The tragedy occurred in the region where fighting between Ukraine soldiers and pro-Russian separatist rebels has been fiercest. Both sides have blamed the other.
Johanns says the ultimate question is whether Russia supplied the launcher that fired the missile.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]