UPDATE — Obama points to pro-Russia separatists in downing of Malaysian Airlines jetliner
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The Associated Press
Burned wreckage at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines 777 carrying 298 people in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
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The Associated Press
In this November 2012 photo, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 takes off from Los Angeles International Airport. The plane, with the tail number 9M-MRD, is the same aircraft that was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
The crash site of a Malaysia Airlines 777 with 295 people aboard on Thursday in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.

Copyright 2014 New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that the United States believed the Malaysia Airlines jetliner felled over eastern Ukraine was shot down by surface-to-air missiles from an area inside Ukraine that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

Obama's remarks at the White House were the strongest public suggestions yet from the United States over who was responsible for the downing of the jetliner, which exploded, crashed and burned on Thursday on farmland in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.

Obama said the loss of life was an “outrage of unspeakable proportions” and a “global tragedy.”

He vowed to investigate exactly what happened to end the lives of “men, women, children, infants who had nothing to do with the crisis” in that region.

Obama also said that at least one American was among the dead.

“We are going to make sure the truth is out,” he said.

The president spoke hours after Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the United Nations, told an emergency Security Council meeting on the Ukraine conflict that there was “credible evidence” that pro-Russia separatists and their Russian associates in eastern Ukraine were responsible for the crash.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was at a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet in a commonly used air route over eastern Ukraine when it was struck on Thursday.

Both Russia and the separatist groups have denied any responsibility, and some rebel leaders have suggested that Ukraine's armed forces may have shot down the plane.

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has implicitly blamed Ukraine's government, saying it created the conditions for the separatist uprising that has escalated into a major crisis. But Putin has not denied that a Russian-made weapon may have destroyed the aircraft.

Power said: “We assess Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 carrying these 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine.” She also said the United States could not “rule out technical assistance by Russian personnel” in operating the system.

“Russia must stop destabilizing Ukraine,” Power said. “Russia can end this war. Russia must end this war.”

READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/world/europe/malaysia-airlines-plane-ukraine.html?emc=edit_na_20140718

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Last modified: July 18. 2014 9:51AM
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