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By Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Temporarily setting aside the usual partisan sniping, lawmakers in Congress turned their sights Friday on Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling on Moscow to end the separatist conflict in the aftermath of the Malaysian jetliner disaster.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Russia must bring about a cease-fire to allow investigators into the region.

“The only thing holding it up is cooperation from Russia,” Royce said Friday on CNBC. “Those separatists take their orders and get their weapons, most of their weapons, from Russia. Russia needs to cooperate now.”

Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said it was time for Putin to “once and for all rein in his mercenaries” and defuse a crisis in Ukraine that is “largely of his making.”

“Enough is enough!” tweeted Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL). “Russia’s continued meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbors is deplorable and must be stopped.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said the United States’ allies in Europe “need to increase their Russia sanctions now.”

“If this doesn’t wake up our European allies, hard to imagine what will,” Murphy wrote in a tweet.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), took particular note of the deaths of many researchers on board the downed airliner that President Barack Obama said were working on AIDS and HIV issues. Connolly called their deaths “another tragic loss of Putin’s folly.”

“We must keep the pressure on Russia and Russian-aligned troops and stand firm with our allies in support of the people of Ukraine,” said Rep. John K. Delaney (D-MD).

AFP Photo / Maxim Shipenkov

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