Jul 18, 2014 4:16 PM ET
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-18/obama-says-missile-that-hit-jet-was-fired-from-rebel-area.html
A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk.
President Barack Obama said the U.S. has concluded that a surface-to-air missile launched from insurgent-held territory in eastern Ukraine brought down a Malaysia Air jetliner, killing all 298 people on board.
“Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions,” Obama said today at the White House. Russia continues to refuse to “de-escalate the situation,” he said, calling for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine
The U.S. is raising pressure on Russia to end support for the rebels as the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting over the catastrophe and members of Congress called for yet more U.S.-ordered economic sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the downing of the airliner.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told the 15-member council today in New York that the U.S. is pushing Ukraine to escalate tensions and Russia “places all blame on Kiev.” He questioned why Ukraine allowed a civilian plane to fly over the conflict zone and called for an impartial investigation.
The months-long conflict in Ukraine, which has morphed into Europe’s biggest crisis since the Cold War, catapulted to the world’s attention with the crash of the Malaysian plane. President Vladimir Putin, who’s denied Russian involvement in the fighting in Ukraine, said the government in Kiev bore responsibility because the crash wouldn’t have occurred without the current strife with separatists battling regular forces in two eastern regions of the country.
The attack on the plane made the conflict in the former Soviet republic a “world-wide problem,” Ukrainian Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
“This war can be ended,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power told told the council. “Russia can end this war and Russia must end this war.”
Most European stocks fell amid concern that the confrontation over Ukraine is deepening. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 339.66 at the close in London as three stocks fell for every two that climbed. Russia’s Micex Index slid 1.3 percent, extending its weekly drop to 5.2 percent, the biggest decline since April.
In New York, stocks jumped with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounding from its worst drop since April. The S&P 500 rose 1 percent to 1,978.22 at 4 p.m. The Dow climbed 123.37 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,100.18.
Obama accused Russia of providing a “steady flow of support” to insurgents battling the Ukrainian government, including arms, training and heavy weapons.
“At least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was killed” in the attack, Obama said. Schansman was a dual Dutch-U.S. citizen, Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said on her Twitter account. He had been living in Amsterdam since April, according to his Facebook account.
As moves to investigate the crash got under way, Ukraine’s state security service said it intercepted phone conversations among pro-Russian militants discussing a missile strike that knocked the Boeing Co. 777 on Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur out of the sky 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Russian border yesterday.
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were hindered by gunmen and failed to gain full access to the wreckage site, Thomas Greminger, Switzerland’s OSCE ambassador, told reporters in Vienna today.
Andrei Purgin, a deputy premier of the rebels’ self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, yesterday denied the rebels were behind the attack, saying the Ukrainian army shot down the plane by mistake and the separatists didn’t have a weapon that could reach that altitude.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on its website yesterday that the army hadn’t used missiles in its operation against the separatists. The army “did not fire a single rocket” it said.
Ukraine has already lost multiple aircraft to the rebels. Earlier this week, the government said an An-26 transport plane was hit by a “powerful weapon” not previously used by the separatists, probably from inside Russia.
Ukrainian emergency services have found the plane’s black boxes at the crash site, Kostyantyn Batozsky, an adviser to the head of the Donetsk regional administration appointed by President Petro Poroshenko, told reporters in a phone briefing today, though he was unable to give details of their current location. The government and rebels are discussing the creation of a safe corridor to the crash site and a demilitarized zone around it, he said.
A total of 181 bodies have been recovered from the crash site, and the remains will be sent to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrii Sybiga told reporters in Kiev today.
The disaster happened a day after the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Russia over the conflict. Obama threatened to escalate those economic restrictions, even as he ruled out a role for U.S. military forces. He called the crash a “wake-up call for Europe,” which is divided over how much to penalize Russia during the crisis, fearing that stricter sanctions would cut off the crucial flow of natural gas to their nations.
U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach, a Pennsylvania Republican and co-chairman of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, said yesterday that a proposed Russian natural gas pipeline under consideration by the European Union “should immediately be scrapped.” He said the U.S. and EU should also “renew discussions with Poland and the Czech Republic about deploying anti-missile defense systems in those countries to deter and contain Russian hegemony.”
Representative Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, said in a statement: “There’s no mistaking that Russia’s aggressive posture and efforts to carve apart a neighboring nation have led to the violence and instability that has now resulted in such a horrific loss of innocent life.” If it’s proven that Russian-backed separatists shot the plane down, “there can be no abiding excuses from Russia’s leaders,” he said.
The European Union today took a legal step to sanction companies — including some from Russia — over the conflict in Ukraine. The bloc will announce its first list of targeted entities by the end of this month following an agreement reached by EU leaders on July 16, according to a statement.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin she was issuing a “very clear call for the Russian president and the Russian government to assume their responsibility to ensure that there’s a political solution.” She urged the setting-up of a “verification regime” to ensure weapons aren’t being moved across the Russia-Ukraine frontier.
Away from the crash site, fighting continued in eastern Ukraine. More than 20 civilians were killed today when the center and surrounding districts of the eastern city of Luhansk were shelled, the city government said.
Three government soldiers were killed in fighting and 25 wounded in the past 24 hours, Defense Ministry spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters in Kiev early this afternoon. He said government forces had been attacked 19 times by the rebels during the period.
Flight 17 was at about 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), taking a route over eastern Ukraine that several other carriers avoided, putting it at an altitude cleared for commercial traffic, according to navigation agency Eurocontrol.
Pilots were instructed by Ukraine’s air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet upon entering its air space after filing a flight plan requesting to proceed at 35,000 feet, the carrier said in a statement today.
Ukraine’s air-traffic control service has now closed down the airspace above regions where fighting has been taking place, according to a statement on its website. Flights aren’t being allowed above the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and part of the Kharkiv region.
Flight 17 carried 283 passengers and 15 crew members, according to a tally by the airline. The bulk of the passengers — 189 — were from the Netherlands. There were 44 Malaysians on board, including crew, with 27 Australians the next largest group, as well passengers from Indonesia, the U.K., Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand. The nationality of four passengers remained unverified.
U.S. military and intelligence agencies said that while they’re still investigating, it increasingly appears Flight 17 was downed by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile known by its NATO designation SA-11 Gadfly.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will advise an investigation into the crash and send an explosives specialist to Ukraine, according to a U.S. law-enforcement official, who asked not to be identified in accordance with policy.
The Gadfly, known locally as the Buk-M, is a radar-guided weapon that can find a target at a range of 140 miles and reach altitudes as high as about 72,000 feet, according to the army-technology.com website.
It was the second major disaster for Malaysian Airline System Bhd. this year. Flight 370 vanished with 239 people on board in March en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, sparking what has become the world’s longest search for a missing jetliner in modern aviation history.
The aircraft’s last maintenance check was on July 11, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement on its website. The plane, built in 1997, “had a clean bill of health” and all communications systems were “functioning normally,” it said.
The airliner had no defense for a surface-to-air missile.
“This is not a war between just Ukraine and Russia,” Yatsenyuk said in the interview. “This is a crime against humanity. We all have to realize that we have to stop this mess. After the tragedy, this is not a local conflict. This is a world-wide problem that needs to be fixed and resolved.”
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/18/world/europe/us-officials-say-they-suspect-sa-11-or-sa-20-missiles-brought-down-malaysia-jet.html
American officials, who said a surface-to-air missile was responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on Thursday, said they suspected that the missile was either an SA-11 or SA-20, both Russian made.
In the early hours of the investigation, determining clear accountability for a missile attack was impossible, in part because all three of the forces in or near the conflict area — the pro-Russian separatists, the Ukrainian military and the Russian military — could possess SA-11s, which are one of many legacy weapons from the Soviet Union circulating through this war.
Known in Russian as a “Buk” and among NATO nations as a “Gadfly,” the SA-11 was first designed in the 1970s. Successor variants are in the inventories of both Russian and Ukrainian air-defense units. A Buk system is vehicle-mounted and self-propelled, which means it can be moved around the battlefield, making it hard to track. More…..