Obama: Russian-backed separatists shot down Malaysian plane

Obama: Russian-backed separatists shot down Malaysian plane

US President Barack Obama says the Malaysian Airliner, MH17, was shot down by Russian-backed separatists.

Speaking at a press conference within the last few minutes, he says his thoughts and those of the US people are with the families and countries of those who died.

President Obama says he believes a surface to air missile caused the crash.

He said: "Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface to air missile from an area that was controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside Ukraine."

He noted it was not the first time separatists had shot down planes in the region, adding that a “steady flow of support from Russia” had included heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weapons.

He called for an immediate ceasefire to allow for a full investigation

“This was a global tragedy,” Mr Obama said. “An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies filled with citizens from many countries, so there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened.”

Officials from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to Ukraine to help determine what happened, Mr Obama said. He warned that evidence must not be tampered with as a United Nations-backed investigation goes forward, and he said, “We will hold all its members, including Russia, to their word” in allowing access to the crash.

“This should snap everybody’s heads to attention,” Mr Obama said.

The White House has taken the lead in forming the delegation to Ukraine, according to a US official. A command centre has been set up at the State Department, where officials from agencies participating in the delegation gathered for a briefing from the CIA on the political and military situation in Ukraine, the official said.

A second US official said all available evidence, including satellite imagery, pointed to the plane being shot down by an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile fired from eastern Ukraine by Ukrainian separatist forces.

The US detected three discrete events associated with the shootdown, the official said: the launching of the missile from the Ukraine side of the border, the missile’s impact with the plane, and the plane slamming into the ground.

More on this topic

MH17 victims mourned in AmsterdamMH17 victims mourned in Amsterdam

Authorities identify 127 Ukraine plane disaster victimsAuthorities identify 127 Ukraine plane disaster victims

Search for MH17 bodies called off as area deemed 'too dangerous'Search for MH17 bodies called off as area deemed 'too dangerous'

Investigators finally reach Ukraine plane crash siteInvestigators finally reach Ukraine plane crash site

More in this Section

Japanese island Hokkaido declares state of emergency over coronavirusJapanese island Hokkaido declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Guests evacuated after boat at Disney World takes on waterGuests evacuated after boat at Disney World takes on water

Japan sends vice justice minister to Lebanon on Ghosn caseJapan sends vice justice minister to Lebanon on Ghosn case

Global coronavirus cases rise as China’s downward trend continuesGlobal coronavirus cases rise as China’s downward trend continues


Lifestyle

Spring has sprung and a new Munster festival promises to celebrate its arrival with gusto, says Eve Kelliher.Spring has sprung: Munster festival promises to celebrate with gusto

The spotlight will fall on two Munster architects in a new showcase this year.Munster architects poised to build on their strengths

Prepare to fall for leather, whatever the weather, says Annmarie O'Connor.Trend of the week: It's always leather weather

The starting point for Michael West’s new play, in this joint production by Corn Exchange and the Abbey, is an alternative, though highly familiar, 1970s Ireland. You know, elections every few weeks, bad suits, wide ties, and a seedy nexus of politics and property development.Theatre Review: The Fall of the Second Republic at Abbey Theatre, Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner