(Inserts comments from lawmakers, paragraphs 2, 7-10)
By Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland
WASHINGTON, July 22 The United States will not
rest until justice is done in the downing of Malaysia Airlines
Flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama vowed
in a condolence book for the nearly 300 victims on Tuesday.
U.S. lawmakers, meanwhile, pushed for a stronger response to
the July 17 shootdown of the airliner over an area controlled by
Obama visited the Netherlands Embassy in Washington to sign
the book. Of the 298 people killed in the crash, 193 were Dutch.
"No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels
over this loss. It is made more acute by the deep ties of
friendship between our two countries," the president wrote in
"Bound by that friendship, we will not rest until we are
certain that justice is done," he wrote.
Obama later left on a three-day trip to Washington state and
California that will be dominated by fund-raisers for Democratic
Congress members pushed for tougher action. The Democratic
leaders of the U.S. Senate's national security committees called
on Obama to impose immediate broad sanctions on Russia's defense
industry, including the state-owned arms exporter
Senators Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and Robert Menendez
also wrote to Obama, urging him to consider broader sanctions on
Russia's energy and financial industries and any other
appropriate sectors of its economy to penalize Moscow for
supporting the separatist rebels and express outrage over "the
wanton destruction" of the flight.
Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss issued a statement saying
Washington should give stronger military assistance to the
Ukrainian government if Moscow does not withdraw support for the
CONCERNS ABOUT CRASH SITE
And the leaders of the House of Representatives Foreign
Affairs Committee, Republican Ed Royce and Democrat Eliot Engel,
wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging a push for a U.N.
Security Council resolution authorizing an international mission
to help secure the crash site.
The White House said the United States welcomed news that
victims' remains and the airplane's black boxes were being
transferred to the Netherlands.
But White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that
international investigators still need full access to the scene.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said his country
would try to ensure that Ukrainian separatists cooperate with an
investigation into the downing but said the West must do more to
persuade Ukraine's government to end hostilities.
At a news briefing, Earnest called on Putin to live up to
his commitment to intervene with the separatists on the
investigation. More broadly, he said, "We do need to see Russia
demonstrate some respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity."
Sensitive to concerns that Obama might be sending the wrong
message by leaving Washington during crises involving Ukraine
and Israel, Earnest said a scheduled Obama appearance on ABC
television's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" comedy variety show has been
The spokesman deflected questions about Obama's trip, saying
the president is able to perform his job while on the road.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Patricia Zengerle;
Editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis)