President Vladimir Putin’s intransigence over Ukraine risks turning him into a global pariah should the blame for downing a Malaysian Airlines jet with 298 passengers and crew members aboard fall on pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The crash of the Boeing Co. 777 followed by less than 24 hours the imposition of new sanctions against Russia that targeted major energy companies and banks. While the rebels denied accusations by the Ukraine government that they shot down the flight, the U.S. said this week that the separatists are being supplied with more heavy weaponry from Russia.

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