Malaysia Airlines crash: US builds case to tie pro Russian forces to crash in Ukraine

| July 19, 2014 | 1 Comment

US believes Malaysia Airlines jet felled by surface-to-air missile

Malaysia Airlines

Passengers aboard downed Malaysia Airlines jet included children from a dozen countries.  Photo courtesy CBC News.

The United States began building a case linking pro-Russian separatists to the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine as a sombre President Barack Obama declared the deaths of those on board, including at least one American, an “outrage of unspeakable proportions.”

Obama said Friday the U.S. believes the Malaysia Airlines plane was felled by a surface-to-air missile launched from an area near the Ukraine-Russia border that is controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists. Even as he cautioned that the exact circumstances were still being determined, the president turned his sights on Russia, saying the insurgents would not be capable of carrying out such an attack without Moscow’s support.

“We know that they are heavily armed and they are trained, and we know that that’s not an accident,” Obama said. “That is happening because of Russian support.”

The president spoke shortly after Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined preliminary evidence against Russia and the separatists during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Power said separatists were spotted Thursday with an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile at a location close to the site where the plane came down and that they had boasted on social media sites about shooting down a plane, then later deleted those posts.

Power joined Obama in calling for an immediate international investigation, and she warned that the separatists and those supporting them would have “good reason to cover up evidence of their crime.” The U.S. has called for evidence from the crash site to remain in Ukraine until investigators determine who is responsible.

The American killed in the incident was identified as Quinn Lucas Schansman. Officials said they were still working to confirm whether any other U.S. citizens were on board the plane.

For Obama, the downed plane adds new complexity to U.S. efforts to quell the months-long conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Increasingly stringent economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe, including a new round of penalties announced a day before the plane was shot down, have done little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approach.

Obama warned Russia anew on Friday that the U.S. has the capacity to increase the economic pain, but he outlined no specific potential actions. He did say he saw no U.S. military role in the conflict that has stemmed in part from Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

All 298 people aboard the Malaysian plane were killed in Thursday’s incident. The passengers, including scores of children, came from a dozen countries, spreading the impact of the Ukraine crisis around the globe.

“This certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine, that it is not going to be localized, it is not going to be contained,” Obama said.

The president has spoken with several world leaders since the crash, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. On Friday, he called British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss possible responses to the crisis. He also spoke with Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia, whose country lost 27 citizens in the crash, while Vice-President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, a NATO ally alarmed by Russia’s actions in neighbouring Ukraine.

Obama learned of the plane crash during a phone call Thursday with Putin. On Friday, the president stopped short of blaming Putin for the downing of the plane, but he said the Russian leader could bring the broader conflict to an end.

“He has the most control over that situation, and so far at least he has not exercised it,” the president said.

A U.S. official said all available evidence, including satellite imagery, pointed to the plane being shot down with an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile fired by pro-Russian separatist forces. The official said the U.S. detected three separate events associated with the shootdown: 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.

That official was not authorized to discuss U.S. intelligence matters publicly by name and commented only on condition of anonymity.

Power, during her remarks at the United Nations, said Ukrainian forces as well as the separatists have SA-11 systems in their inventory. However, she said the U.S. was not aware of those systems being in the area of the shooting, and she noted that Ukrainian air defences have not fired any missiles during the dispute with Russia.

The State Department said the FBI and National Transportation Security Board were each sending at least one agent to Ukraine, and perhaps more later, to assist with the crash investigation.

A command centre has been set up at the State Department, where officials from agencies participating in the delegation gathered Friday morning for a briefing from the CIA on the political and military situation.

The Canadian Press




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  1. Peter says:

    We don’t know the truth yet – the official investigation hasn’t started.
    But the mere fact that the US (and their puppets in other countries) officials already rushed with bold accusations of Russia and East Ukraine rebels in this crime.
    But too many evidences point out that the incident was planned and executed in cold blood, and in this case Russia and the rebels are the last ones who benefit from this accident.
    Check out these YouTube analyses for example:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU1qob7UnsQ&list=UUFjOi1ZpZVErr8EYxg8t1dQ
    and
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY4W-8qNnD0&list=UUvsye7V9psc-APX6wV1twLg

    Already Ukrainian government related sources was caught publishing on YouTube fake evidence of Russian involvement, and many Twitter and Facebook publishing were censored out of the sites because they revealed the American and Ukrainian real conspiracy “suspicious” actions that deserve full criminal investigation in this MH17 case.

    The best thing the Canadian government can do in this situation is to stay away from this bad story, keep the mouth shut and don’t allow Canada to be pulled into a “bad story” which may be the goal of the US neocons (we already damaged out international reputation heavily in cases against Russia and Iran).

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