WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Friday that the Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in Ukraine was shot down in an “outrage of unspeakable proportion.” He identified one American who died in the crash as Quinn Lucas Schansman.
He also said that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have received a “steady flow” of arms and training from Russia, including anti-aircraft weapons. He called for a “credible international investigation” into the shooting down of the plane.
The President called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine between the Kiev government and pro-Russian rebels in eastern regions so that an international investigation can proceed with no tampering of evidence.
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.
None of those on board survived Thursday’s crash, she said. Three were infants.
Her statement came after a U.S. defense official said a preliminary classified U.S. intelligence analysis had concluded that the missile that hit Flight 17 most likely was fired by pro-Russian separatists inside eastern Ukraine.
The official, who has direct access to the latest information, declined to be identified because of its sensitivity.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier blasted the “terrorists” he blamed for shooting down Flight 17.
He called on all governments to back the investigation and “to support the Ukrainian government to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime.”