Though he did not specifically cast blame, President Obama today said the missile that downed the Malaysian airliner was fired from Russian rebel territory in Ukraine and called for an immediate ceasefire in order to allow investigators to determine the exact circumstances of the shoot down.
The president said the US could so far confirm only one American death.
Obama spoke at midday from the White House briefing room:
In order to facilitate that investigation, Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine must adhere to an immediate cease-fire. Evidence must not be tampered with. Investigators need to access the crash site. And the solemn task of returning those who were lost onboard the plane to their loved ones needs to go forward immediately.
He demanded a peaceful settlement:
More broadly, I think it’s important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscores that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine. For months we’ve supported a pathway to peace, and the Ukrainian government has reached out to all Ukrainians, put forward a peace plan and lived up to a cease-fire, despite repeated violations by the separatists, violations that took the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and personnel.
And he added some tough guy stuff:
Moreover, time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation. I spoke to President Putin yesterday in the wake of additional sanctions that we had imposed. He said he wasn’t happy with them, and I told him that we have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine, but so far, at least, Russia has failed to take that path.
Not sure what will happen. Pretty sure it won’t be the result of demands by Obama.