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UN, President Obama Point To Evidence Russia Shot Down Malaysia Plane

UNITED NATIONS – During an emergency Security Council meeting about the Malaysia airliner that was struck down on Thursday, Samantha Power, the United Nations ambassador said on Friday there is “credible evidence” that Russia destroyed the Malaysia Air Lines Boeing 777-200 that killed 298 people.

President Barack Obama at a White House  press briefing on Friday.
President Barack Obama at a White House press briefing on Friday.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

“We assess Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 carrying these 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine,” Power said. “Russia must stop destabilizing Ukraine. Russia can end this war. Russia must end this war.”

Ukrainian intelligence is pointing to evidence concerning Igor Bezler, a pro-Russian militia leader who was in the eastern town of Gorlovka at the time the Malaysia plane was struck down. During an intercepted phone call by Ukraine, it said his men told him they had “shot down a plane.”

The New York Times reported there has been several Ukrainian militiamen assassinations under Bezler’s command in the town of Volnovakha a few weeks ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened a meeting with his top economic advisers on Thursday with a comment concerning the crash of the Malaysian airliner implicitly blaming Ukraine’s government.

The Associated took a remark from the Kremlin website translating Putin’s remarks. “In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy,” Putin said.

A self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Girkin wrote on his Facebook page at VK.com, “We did warn you – do not fly in our sky.”

President Barack Obama said the death of the 298 passengers is “an outrage of unspeakable proportions” saying “we know at least one American citizen” was killed. Obama said the name of the victim from the United States is Quinn Lucas Schansman.

He said during a statement from the White House on Friday that he also agrees with the United Nations that the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area inside the Ukraine.“We are going to make sure the truth is out,” Mr. Obama said, referring to what he described as a trove of misinformation that has already shrouded the plane crash.

The downing of the Malaysia plane came one day after President Obama announced there would be broader economic sanctions against Russia its continued violence and political moves in Ukraine.

"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 said in a statement delivered from the White House Friday. "Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine must adhere to an immediate cease-fire. Evidence must not be tampered with.”