Obama Pledges Assistance to Investigation of Tragic Boeing Crash in Ukraine
MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - The United States pledged assistance to the investigative efforts looking into the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine, US President Barack Obama told the press.
"The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened, and why," Obama said, stressing that the "world is watching" reports of the downed jetliner in Ukraine, which looks like "a terrible tragedy."
Obama's statement echoes a similar call of NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen for a comprehensive investigation in the Thursday crash of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
In a separate statement following the tragic news, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused to speculate on the reasons of the Boeing-777 crash.
'I'm not going to speculate on this for obvious reasons. We don't have any additional details to share,' she told the press.
Psaki refused to comment on the alleged missile strike reported as one of the reasons for the crash, when asked if this type of missile was among the weaponry that the US State Department believes has recently been transiting from Russian military facilities.
'We don't have confirmation that this is the cause or the source of the plane being down,' State Department spokeswoman concluded.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near the town of Torez in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine on Thursday. The aircraft was carrying at least 280 passengers and 15 crew members, with multiple reports coming in on the number of foreign nationals aboard the crashed plane.
Various sources speculated that the plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile system, on of the very few missile systems able to hit targets across the corresponding altitude range. Earlier on Thursday, an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister wrote on his Facebook page that a Buk surface-to-air missile system was indeed used to down the plane, but insisted that the self-defense forces of the southeast had done that.
In turn, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine traded accusations with Kiev saying it was responsible for downing the Malaysian airliner since local militia doesn't have the required technologies. Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement that 27 Buk-M1 missile systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been deployed near the city of Donetsk located near the crash site.
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