MH17 crash: Barack Obama points to rebels in Ukraine

Washington, Jul 18: US President Barack Obama on Friday said at the missile that took down a Malaysian jetliner killing 298 people on board was fired from an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by separatist rebels and blamed Russia for the tragedy.

Addressing a press briefing in thec, Obama called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists, seeking independence, have been fighting forces from Kiev. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777, crashed in the conflict-hit Donetsk region while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It was the second disaster to strike Malaysia Airlines since a plane went missing mysteriously in March.

Among the dead were 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Belgians and Germans each, three Filipinos, a Canadian and a New Zealander.

Though Malaysian Airlines said that the nationalities of four others are yet to be verified, Obama said that one of the victims was an American named Quinn Lucas Schansnan. Stating that Schansnan was definitely a US or dual citizen, he expressed his condolences to the bereaved family saying that “our thoughts and prayers are with his family for this terrible loss”.

Describing the incident as “outrageous”, Obama said: “This was a global tragedy… An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies filled with citizens from many countries, so there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened.”

Obama blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that he could have averted the tragedy if he had wanted to. He held the Russians responsible for the horrific event saying that this would not have happened if the violence in eastern Ukraine was stopped.

“We know that they (separatists in Ukraine) are heavily armed and they are trained. That is not an accident. That is happening because of Russian support, we are going to make sure the truth is out,” Obama said.