U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) released the following statement on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, confirmed to have been shot down over eastern Ukraine:
"I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine yesterday. If the unconfirmed reports are true that pro-Russian separatists operating in Eastern Ukraine are responsible for shooting down this plane, then this is truly a heinous act which only further validates President Obama's rollout of additional sanctions on Russia. Regardless of who is responsible for this disaster, Russia must cease supporting and arming separatist groups who are working to destabilize Ukraine. Russian President Putin has fanned the flames of division in Ukraine and is more interested in celebrity than building bridges."