What a completely crazy thing for the Russians to do -- arm separatists with top-grade weapons:
Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) -- A senior U.S. diplomat pointed the finger Friday at pro-Russian rebels in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, an act that killed 298 people.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that the plane was "likely downed by a surface-to-air missile ... operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine."
If pro-Russian separatists are responsible for shooting down the plane with a missile, investigators can't rule out the possibility that Russia offered help to operate the system, she said.
Power also said Russia should take steps to cool tensions in Ukraine.
"Russia can end this war," she said. "Russia must end this war."
The United States and Ukraine are committed to a diplomatic solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, she said, but if Russia continues to choose escalation, additional sanctions will follow.
Separatist leaders also boasted on social media about shooting down the plane and later deleted those references, she said.
On board were 298 people, none of whom survived the crash, she said. Three were infants.
A preliminary classified U.S. intelligence analysis has concluded that the missile that hit Flight 17 most likely was fired by pro-Russian separatists inside eastern Ukraine, according to a U.S. defense official with direct access to the latest information.
Josh Marshall called it a "game changer," adding:
The audio tapes posted by The New York Times might as well be from some future Russia-based version of Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show, a comical rendering of rustics and morons stumbling into an event of vast carnage and international consequence mainly because they're hotheads and idiots - the kind of people no one in their right minds would give world class weaponry to. It's like finding some white supremacist/militia types on their little compound in the inter-Mountain west and giving them world class missile launchers and heavy armaments.