Obama stops short of blaming Putin for downing of MH7

U.S. begins to build case that links pro-Russian separatists to tragedy


WASHINGTON — 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.”

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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.


Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Joan Lowy, Josh Lederman and Lara Jakes contributed to this report.

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Obama stops short of blaming Putin for downing of MH7

  1. Likely one of the rebels fired on what he thought was a cargo plane. It happens. Fog of war ….you know.

    • Murder of innocent foreign civilians is still murder.

  2. Remember the crash that killed the Polish President and sundry other senior govt officials…another Russian “accident”.

    • Whereas the US just says ‘whoops’ when it shoots down passenger planes.

      Lots of stories and rumours going around Billy Bob….some of them bizarre. You simply WANT to believe it’s Putin.

      • The US manned up ,admitted their fault and paid reparations in the Iranian Air incident.

        Unlike Putin, who is a lying psychopathic thug, your hero who you keep making excuses for.

        • LOL Sorry, I don’t go for Cold War nostalgia Billy Bob….put the banjo away.

          • Keep on displaying that Leftist Mental Disorder.

          • Yer goin’ straight to name-calling in only two posts these day, Bobby.

            And now you’ve confused the name Emily with the name Lenny.

            Go yell at the kids on yer lawn and get the anger out.

        • Btw…..’Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai that was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on 3 July 1988. The attack took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the flight’s usual flight path

          The United States did not apologize to Iran.
          In 1996, the United States and Iran reached “an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims” relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice.[8] As part of the settlement, the United States did not admit legal liability but agreed to pay US$61.8 million, ($92.9 million today), amounting to $213,103.45 ($320446 today) per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.’


        • Uh no, Boob. Reagan never even so much as apologized.
          8 years later and after Reagan was gone, the US agreed to a cash settlement, with no admission of fault.

          But I’m curious, you said “murder of innocent foreign civilians is still murder”. Do you believe the appropriate punishment for the murder of hundreds of civilians is “manning up” and paying out some money?

          • I would have thought “manning up” involved apologizing for killing hundreds of civilians rather than lying about the circumstances and denying responsibility. My mistake.
            But you’ll have to elaborate on the relevance of that comment, Boob.
            It’s ok to murder hundreds of civilians if they live in a country in which the government murders civilians?

        • I dislike the left as much as the right….sorry.

          • The problem, Billy Bob, is that as soon as you start using derogatory names like Emilytard, you lose all credibility.

          • Bullshit Jean, one has only to look at the facts, the leftwingnutz ignore reality.

    • No they don’t. Rumours and wild stories….nothing is known as yet.

  3. U.S.: Russia helped deploy missile that hit jet
    BY JIM MICHAELS USA Today 8:32 p.m. EDT July 18, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday it is unlikely that pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine could obtain or operate the sophisticated missile system allegedly used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines plane without Russian help.

    “It strains credulity to think that they could do this without some measure of Russian support and assistance,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Friday. “It is a sophisticated system.”

    The Pentagon says there is strong evidence the missile, a SA-11, was fired by Russian-backed separatists since the missile was fired from an area controlled by rebels.

    The international outrage generated by the tragedy is placing additional pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to back off support for the rebels.

    “Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation,” Obama said Friday.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel lashed out at Russia in unusually blunt language on Friday. “The Russians have been instigating this trouble in Eastern Ukraine,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s Political Capital with Al Hunt. “The Russians continue to isolate themselves in the world. …This is a very serious international incident. And the Russians are going to have to take some responsibility.”

    Kirby said it is not clear whether the rebels thought they were targeting a Ukrainian military aircraft. A Ukrainian fighter and cargo aircraft were shot down earlier this week.

    The Obama administration said preliminary evidence suggests the cargo aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile. Ukraine’s government says the fighter was shot down by a Russian aircraft.

    Kirby said there was no specific intelligence suggesting Russia provided separatists with the SA-11, but he said Russia continues to support separatists with arms, financing and training. The Pentagon said Russia has been supplying rebels with tanks and armored vehicles.

    Kirby said Russia has massed between 10,000 to 12,000 troops near the border of Ukraine. “They’re growing in size week by week,” he said.

    Samantha Powers, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, addressed an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Friday, saying the United States could not rule out that Russia provided technical assistance in deploying the system.

    Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, did not respond to the U.S. allegations, but called for an international commission to investigate the crash, the Associated Press reported.

    He asked why Ukraine allowed civilian aircraft to fly over an area where military clashes and airstrikes were taking place, according to the AP. Putin said both sides should put down their arms.

    Central to the Obama administration’s argument linking Russia to the attack is the type of missile allegedly used by the separatists.

    Unlike portable anti-air weapons, which can fit in the trunk of a car and be fired by one person, the SA-11 is a sophisticated Russian-built system that is typically tied into a radar and requires a trained crew to operate.

    The Malaysia Airlines flight was cruising at 33,000 feet when it was hit, well beyond the range of a portable weapon system, which can generally reach about 10,000 feet, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.

    Typically, the SA-11 is deployed in a system with separate vehicles for a command post, a radar system and missiles in launchers, according to IHS Janes. The missiles could only be operated by a trained crew, the report said.

    • And what did I say in my very first post?

      Honestly BillyBob you live in fantasyland.

      • “And what did I say in my very first post?”

        Not much

        Samantha Powers, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, addressed an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Friday, saying the United States could not rule out that Russia provided technical assistance in deploying the system.

        Central to the Obama administration’s argument linking Russia to the attack is the type of missile allegedly used by the separatists.

        Unlike portable anti-air weapons, which can fit in the trunk of a car and be fired by one person, the SA-11 is a sophisticated Russian-built system that is typically tied into a radar and requires a trained crew to operate.

        Not the pro-Russian thugs you identify with.

        • It’s all speculation. They have no idea what happened. There are no facts as yet.

          I’m not sure why you’d have a weapons system without someone who can operate it……but Russia has no motive for shooting down passenger planes.

          We don’t even know what kind of weapon was used….I doubt it would be all that complicated.

          Amazing how Russians are ‘thugs’, and Americans are good brave lads….bias much? LOL

          • You have a definite lack of reading and comprehension skills.

        • I know the meaning of the word ‘speculation’…and that’s all you’re offering.

    • Well, I’m not your therapist, so you’re going to have to talk yourself down from this one. And soon….before you fall down.

        • Ahh so not having an argument….or a backbone….you revert to sexism.

          Amazing….you are the poster child for the ‘cranky ole white guys’ set. Mush for brains and a sense of entitlement….that’s you.

          • глупая сука

        • Yada yada….time to have a scotch and hit the couch before supper, gramps…..nite

          • I don’t drink, it’s not suppertime here (not Tronta) and I’m nowhere near as old as you.

            The two Russian slang’s are representative of how you’d be responded to by the pro-Russian thugs.

            If clues were shoes you’d be barefoot.

        • I don’t care if you get off on booze or drugs….your choice…..and Canadian guys, just like you, say the exact same kind of things Russians do.

          My suggestion on the scotch and nap till dinner was to get you off this kick of playing hillbilly and talking nonsense on here. You’ve never won an argument, you’ve never been on the right side of anything, and in your mind/attitude…. you’re 92.

          Time for Ciao, BB. Been a slice, etc.

          • I don’t do drugs either, talking nonsense is your department, you never have anything to back up your inane comments or wild eyed claims, as far as winning arguments, one can not reason with someone like you who is afflicted with Cranial Capacity Deficit Syndrome.

  4. Obama is just a puppet for the Military, just like every other President, since Kennedy.
    The Americans will do anything for a “War”.
    A true story at Fort Bragg is, when Officers salute each other they say:” Pray For War Sir, pray for war”

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