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Obama: Plane shot down by missile, 1 American dead



By JULIE PACE

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States began building a case Friday linking pro-Russian separatists to the shocking downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine. A somber President Barack Obama declared the deaths of those on board, including at least one American, an "outrage of unspeakable proportions."

Obama said the U.S. believes the Malaysia Airlines plane was felled by a surface-to-air missile launched from an area near the Ukraine-Russia border that is controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists. Even as he cautioned that the exact circumstances were still being determined, the president turned his sights on Russia, saying the insurgents would not be capable of carrying out such an attack without Moscow's support.

"We know that they are heavily armed and they are trained, and we know that that's not an accident," Obama said. "That is happening because of Russian support."

The president spoke shortly after Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined preliminary evidence against Russia and the separatists during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Power said separatists were spotted Thursday with an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile at a location close to the site where the plane came down and that they had boasted on social media sites about shooting down a plane, then later deleted those posts.

Power joined Obama in calling for an immediate international investigation, and she warned that the separatists and those supporting them would have "good reason to cover up evidence of their crime." The U.S. has called for evidence from the crash site to remain in Ukraine until investigators determine who is responsible.

The American killed in the incident was identified as Quinn Lucas Schansman. Officials said they were still working to confirm whether any other U.S. citizens were on board the plane.

For Obama, the downed plane adds new complexity to U.S. efforts to quell the months-long conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Increasingly stringent economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe, including a new round of penalties announced a day before the plane was shot down, have done little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin's approach.

Obama warned Russia anew on Friday that the U.S. has the capacity to increase the economic pain, but he outlined no specific potential actions. He did say he saw no U.S. military role in the conflict that has stemmed in part from Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

All 298 people aboard the Malaysian plane were killed in Thursday's incident. The victims included vacationers, students and a large contingent of scientists. The passengers came from a dozen countries, spreading the impact of the Ukraine crisis around the globe.

"This certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine - that it is not going to be localized, it is not going to be contained," Obama said.

The president has spoken with several world leaders since the crash, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands. The flight originated in Amsterdam and nearly 200 of those killed were Dutch.

Obama also spoke with Russia's Putin just as initial reports of the crash were coming in. On Friday, the president stopped short of blaming Putin for the downing of the plane, but he said the Russian leader could bring the broader conflict to an end.

"He has the most control over that situation, and so far at least he has not exercised it," the president said.

A U.S. official said all available evidence, including satellite imagery, pointed to the plane being shot down with an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile fired by pro-Russian separatist forces. The official said the U.S. detected three separate events associated with the shootdown: the launching of the missile from the Ukraine side of the border, the missile's impact with the plane and the plane slamming into the ground.

That official was not authorized to discuss U.S. intelligence matters publicly by name and commented only on condition of anonymity.

Power, during her remarks at the United Nations, said Ukrainian forces as well as the separatists have SA-11 systems in their inventory. However, she said the U.S. was not aware of those systems being in the area of the shooting, and she noted that Ukrainian air defenses have not fired any missiles during the dispute with Russia.

The State Department said the FBI and National Transportation Security Board were each sending at least one agent to Ukraine, and perhaps more later, to assist with the crash investigation.

A command center has been set up at the State Department, where officials from agencies participating in the delegation gathered Friday morning for a briefing from the CIA on the political and military situation.

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Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Joan Lowy, Josh Lederman and Lara Jakes contributed to this report.

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Obama Addresses Ukraine Situation



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Dianne July 18 2014 at 1:18 PM

Romney warned Obama about Russia. Obama laughed at and mocked him.
Think it's funny now Barry?

Flag Reply +57 rate up
12 replies
paulatkinson22 July 18 2014 at 1:22 PM

Obama didn't give a rats a$$ about 4 Americans dying in Benghazi what makes anyone think he cares about 1 being blown out of the sky?

Flag Reply +40 rate up
12 replies
Don July 18 2014 at 1:43 PM

Obama's poor relationship with Russia and his overall lack of strength in foreign matters has caused this. Putin knows America is weak now and will be, at least for another two years. He can do as he wants. And with Russia on the UN security council, the UN is left toothless also. Maybe NATO has some balls left.

Flag Reply +26 rate up
8 replies
Angela9 July 18 2014 at 2:33 PM

Mitt Romney was so right about Ruussia and obama laughed at him! Well, obama is mental--always has been.He knows nothing about foreign policy and it shows. H e only knows how to lie!

Flag Reply +24 rate up
6 replies
amcpharlin July 18 2014 at 2:27 PM

Obama's foreign policy scares all nation large and small. He is a giant leader whoes words and actions are feared by all. The American public is proud to yell his name in praise. No single person nor nation shall do anything to upset this leader who time and again puts fear in the hearts of all countries when he speaks, points that index finger and saids wharever. You can count on Mr Obama who cares little for photo ops, public opinion or what party. He will always do what the strong and powerful do because he said many many times "freedom is not free unless you are willing to act like free men". God I sure wish what I just wrote was TRUE however every bit of it is FALSE.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
5 replies
CPA11973 July 18 2014 at 2:58 PM

ok Obama. suppose the rebs are the guilty party - what are you going to do about it.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
5 replies
jws1141 July 18 2014 at 1:32 PM

Anyone who has any connection to Eastern Europe (POLAND) and votes Democratic in the future elections are Just Stupid !! Obama and the democrats have you at the bottom of humanity ! remember the promise of a air defense system for Poland and her neighbors, New Armaments & Aircraft.... Where are they now ? and the troops sent by these countries to Afghanistan did not move Pres Obama to Help prevent just what is happening now in the Ukraine

Flag Reply +13 rate up
6 replies
Toni Spamoni July 18 2014 at 1:23 PM

Listened to Obama say things like Russian separatists,Ukraine, Russia must come together...you think they are listening? He says the "crime" scene must be left intact...this after reports separatists are suppose to have already sent at least 1 black box to Russia....

Flag Reply +12 rate up
4 replies
cbrown6120 July 18 2014 at 2:43 PM

I see the bigots are out in force today. Mark Twain said, "Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."

Flag Reply +9 rate up
14 replies
KATHI AND JOHN July 19 2014 at 8:37 AM

You all should LISTEN to his fundraising speech he made a hour after this happened. He comes out ,makes a joke.....says a worthless 38 seconds about this killing..........then another 16 mintues of jokes and fundraising.........YOU VOTED FOR THIS

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
mickylitz2 KATHI AND JOHN July 19 2014 at 8:59 AM

KATHI AND JOHN ...
Unfortunately , Liberals did vote twice for this monstrosity..
This guy doesn't care for America and neither do the people voting for this type of individuals.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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