The downing over Eastern Ukraine of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, resulting in the deaths of nearly 300 people was an outrage and a tragedy, and a direct consequence of the escalation of violence in Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists.
“Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside Ukraine,” said President Barack Obama:
“We know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from Russia. This includes arms and training. It includes heavy weapons. And it includes anti-aircraft weapons.”
It’s important to realize that while we are still trying to determine who actually pulled the trigger to fire the missile that shot down Malaysian Flight MH17, said White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, “the picture emerging is not in doubt. We assessed that it was an SA-11 [surface-to-air missile] and that it came from a separatist-controlled area. And we know Russia has provided arming and training for these separatists.”
We may not yet know who put their finger on that trigger, but responsibility for this incident lies at the feet of President Vladimir Putin, said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf during a press conference on July 23rd.
“These Russian separatists who we strongly believe fired this missile would not be there operating without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government, would not have been trained without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government, would not be armed without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government. They would not be there doing what they’re doing, period, so they could fire an SA-11 without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government. Yes, direct responsibility lies there,” said Spokesperson Harf.
“One of the reasons, if not the most important reason, that we are so committed to finding out what happened here is so we can hold the people who did it accountable, that people cannot get away with shooting civilian airliners out of the sky. That’s just wholly unacceptable, and that countries that support these kind of separatists, like we’ve seen Russia do, also need to be held accountable.”