July 18, 2014

He refrains from going after Putin, but makes it clear that Russia enabled the situation:

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

Mr. 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.

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

“We are going to make sure the truth is out,” Mr. Obama said, referring to what he described as a trove of misinformation that has already shrouded the plane crash.

“We don’t have time for propaganda,” Mr. Obama said. “We don’t have time for games.”

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

Mr. Obama resisted blaming Mr. Putin personally, saying that the government does not know exactly who fired the missile that took down the passenger airline. But he made clear that he holds the Russians responsible for failing to stop the violence that made the shoot-down possible.

“We know that they are heavily armed and they are trained. That is not an accident. That is happening because of Russian support,” Mr. Obama said. He said it is “not possible for these separatists to be functioning they way they are” without Russian support.

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