CHICAGO, IL â€“Â U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement today on the anniversary of the MH-17 attack by Russian-backed rebels that killed 298 civilians:
â€œOne year ago today,Â 298 innocent people lost their lives whenÂ Putin-backed rebelsÂ shot down a civilian airliner over Ukraine.Â As evidence continues to point to Russian involvement in this senseless attack,Â IÂ once again callÂ on the Obama administration to designate the main pro-Russian separatist organizations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under U.S. law. I also call on the administration to provide additional support to Ukraine and our key allies in Eastern EuropeÂ to protect our friends and show Putin the costÂ for his violation of international norms.”
Last year, Senator Kirk sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the United States designate the Â main pro-Russian separatist organizations of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under U.S. Law.Â According to the Department of State, the FTO designation â€œimpacts travel related to terrorist organizations, makes it a crime to provide material support to terrorist organizations, and freezes the financial accounts of terrorist organizations in U.S. financial institutions.â€ Currently, 52 organizations are designated as FTOs, including such nefarious actors as Al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah. The designation could have a significant impact on Russian interests in the United States if U.S. deems them as providing â€œmaterial supportâ€ to the rebels.