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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 21st, 2014
05:53 PM ET

Flight 17: Will Russia pay?

(CNN) – Ask the secretary of state, and the evidence is "enormous." Ask the American people, and 85% think Russia was either directly, or indirectly involved in the taking of the innocent lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

But ask Russian leader Vladimir Putin? He blames the Ukrainians for the crash, and for the country's civil war, going so far as to say that Ukrainian officials "should acknowledge their responsibility both before their own people and before the peoples of those countries whose representatives were among the victims of this catastrophe."

If that sounds a little over the top, consider some of the propaganda being spun by Kremlin-sponsored Russian media right now. Like the "theory" spotted by The New Republic that "Malaysia Air Flight 17 was full of corpses when it took off from Amsterdam." Or "that it was the result of the Ukrainian military mistaking MH17 for Putin's presidential plane."

Who really has the blood on their hands here? And what should happen now?

"It's pretty obvious that Vladimir Putin has been supporting and enabling these Russian-backed separatists. And he maybe didn't pull the trigger, but he's certainly directly responsible for it," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

To date, sanctions against Russia have not changed behavior on the ground in Ukraine.

"We should be very visible, very vocal, very overt in our support for (Ukraine's President Petro) Poroshenko, and do what we need to do to strengthen his military, rebuild it," Johnson said.

For more of our interview with Sen. Ron Johnson, check out the video above.

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