OTR Interviews

Ayotte: 'Game-changer' if Russia or Russian-backed separatists are behind Malaysia plane attack

Senator says there 'needs to be accountability' if Russia is behind downing of Malaysia Airline Flight MH17


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 17, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: As news of the crash is breaking, Senator Kelly Ayotte was meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States. Senator Ayotte joins us.

Nice to see you. What happened? You are talking to him and get news of this?

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.: Exactly. We hear about the plane going down and I can tell you that the Ukrainian ambassador believes that the separatists have BUK missiles. They were provided from Russia and that's what I think we need to understand here. The conclusion of this investigation is that either the missile came from -- it's a missile that came from Russia or it was from the separatists, and it's as BUK style missile. I mean, this came from Russia. Russia has their fingerprints all over it, either way.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it make a difference? If it's the S-300 missile, it's definitely the Russians that actually fired it. Does that make a difference? And if they supplied another missile launcher, the SA-11, to separatists a week ago or two weeks ago and they did it, does that make a difference?

AYOTTE: In my view it doesn't, Greta, because they have been fueling this violence in eastern Ukraine. They have funded the separatists. They have given them the training to use the sophisticated military equipment. And this violence is as a result of a decision made by Vladimir Putin. And so they set in motion what happened, if that's what the investigation reveals and what comes out at the end of the day. And personally, I think that this is something that, yesterday, I was pleased that the administration issued these additional sanctions. I have been calling for them for a while. This should be a game changer if we find out that either it was Russian-backed separatists who did this or Russia itself.

VAN SUSTEREN: I will tell what you makes this profoundly different than I suppose other things is that there are reported to be Americans on board that plane. We have not had it verified. But this is not just a separatist and Ukraine and Russia battling over some land. You have got Dutch. You have got British. You have got people from the Philippines. You have got Americans. I mean, the list goes on and on at the number of countries involved here, who have been murdered at 33,000 feet. This is a very different situation than just fighting among themselves. It's.

AYOTTE: It's devastating to the victims of this obviously, and there needs to be total accountability. And that's why I say if we find out that the investigation shows Russian-backed separatists or Russia? Game-changer, wake-up call not only for us -- we issued tougher sanctions tomorrow. There are much tougher sanctions we can issue. More support for Ukrainian military but also the Europeans because they have not followed suit and they should have a wakeup call as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: They're expecting to announce their sanctions later this month. This does sort of put a certain different -- put this in a completely different light.

AYOTTE: A real urgency.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not only that, but it's a murder of Americans at 33,000 feet and other people.

AYOTTE: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, what are we going to do? What will tell Putin? We want accountability? We are going to make it harder for you financially? What can we do?

AYOTTE: Personally, I think we can have a dramatic impact on the economy more than what was done yesterday, but Iranian-type sanctions, which would be the next real significant --


AYOTTE: And also, I would say, Greta, there needs to be accountability --

VAN SUSTEREN: Like what?

AYOTTE: -- with the international community? I think that this is a crime. This is beyond a crime. This is an act of terrorism, and that needs to be held accountability.

VAN SUSTEREN: Like how? How?

AYOTTE: They should have to show accountability. I think what we need to do. Not only sanctions, military support, we shouldn't be doing -- encourage everyone not to do business with Russia. We have to alienate Russia because this is, you know -- what has happened has escalated. And, unfortunately, we have not taken as tough a steps as we should have in advance of this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Certainly, it's -- Senator, thank you very much. This certainly is stressing news tonight. Thank you very much.

AYOTTE: Very stressing. Thanks, Greta.