Connect with us

World

Obama condemns Russia over Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Obama condemns Russia over downed plane in Ukraine
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: U.S. President Barack Obama demanded Russia stop supporting separatists in Ukraine after the downing of a Malaysian airliner by a surface-to-air missile he said was fired from rebel territory raised the prospect of more sanctions on Moscow.

Calling the deaths of almost 300 people from 11 countries “an outrage of unspeakable proportions”, Obama stopped short of directly blaming Russia for the incident, saying there must be a rapid and credible investigation. “We don’t have time for games,” he said.

International observers said gunmen stopped them observing the site properly when they got there on Friday.

More than half of the victims were Dutch, and Obama said a U.S. citizen was among the dead in what has become a pivotal incident in deteriorating relations between Russia and the West.

Obama ruled out U.S. military intervention, but said he was prepared to tighten sanctions. He also said the stakes were high for Europe, a clear call for it to copy the more robust U.S. penalties on Russia already imposed.

Russia, which Obama said was letting the rebels bring in weapons, has expressed anger at implications it was to blame, saying people should not prejudge the outcome of the inquiry.

There were no survivors from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, a Boeing 777. The United Nations said 80 of the 298 aboard were children. The deadliest attack on a commercial airliner, it scattered bodies over miles of rebel-held territory near the border with Russia.

Makeshift white flags marked where bodies lay in corn fields and among the debris. Others, stripped bare by the force of the crash, had been covered by polythene sheeting weighed down by stones, one marked with a flower in remembrance.

One pensioner told how a woman smashed though her roof. “There was a howling noise and everything started to rattle. Then objects started falling out of the sky,” said Irina Tipunova, 65. “And then I heard a roar and she landed in the kitchen.”

INVESTIGATION HAMPERED

As U.S. investigators prepared to head to Ukraine to assist in the investigation, staff from Europe’s OSCE security body visited the site but complained that they did not have the full access they wanted.

“We encountered armed personnel who acted in a very impolite and unprofessional manner. Some of them even looked slightly intoxicated,” an OSCE spokesman said.

The scale of the disaster could prove a turning point for international pressure to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, which has killed hundreds since pro-Western protests toppled the Moscow-backed president in Kiev in February and Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula a month later.

“This outrageous event underscores that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine,” Obama said, adding that Russia had failed to use its influence to curb rebel violence.

While the West has imposed sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, the United States has been more aggressive than the European Union. Analysts say the response of Germany and other EU powers to the incident – possibly imposing more sanctions – could be crucial in deciding the next phase of the standoff with Moscow.

Some commentators even recalled Germany’s sinking of the Atlantic liner Lusitania in 1915, which helped push the United States into World War One, but outrage in the West at Thursday’s carnage is not seen as leading to military intervention.

The U.N. Security Council called for a “full, thorough and independent international investigation” into the downing of the plane and “appropriate accountability” for those responsible.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was too early to decide on further sanctions before it was known exactly what had happened to the plane. Britain took a similar line but later echoed Obama in pointing the finger at the separatists.

Kiev and Moscow immediately blamed each other for the disaster, triggering a new phase in their propaganda war.

Ukraine has closed air space over the east of the country as Malaysia Airlines defended its use of a route that some other carriers had been avoiding.

More than half of the dead passengers, 189 people, were Dutch. Twenty-nine were Malaysian, 27 Australian, 12 Indonesian, 10 British, four German, four Belgian, three Filipino, one America, one Canadian, one New Zealand. Several were unidentified and some may have had dual citizenship. The 15 crew were Malaysian.

A number of those on board were traveling to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, including Joep Lange, an influential Dutch expert.

“We lost somebody who wanted to make the world a better place,” said his friend Marcel Duyvestijn.

TRAGIC DAY, TRAGIC YEAR

The loss of MH17 is the second devastating blow for Malaysia Airlines this year, following the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370 in March, which vanished with 239 passengers and crew on board on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

In Malaysia, there was a sense of disbelief that another airline disaster could strike so soon.

“This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia,” Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

International air lanes had been open in the area, though only above 32,000 feet. The Malaysia plane was flying 1,000 feet higher, at the instruction of Ukrainian air traffic control, although the airline had asked to fly at 35,000 feet.

Relatives gathered at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and the Netherlands declared a day of national mourning.

Ukraine accused pro-Moscow militants of firing a long-range, Soviet-era SA-11 ground-to-air missile. U.S. officials said they saw this as possibly the most likely cause of the disaster.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Kiev for renewing its offensive against rebels two weeks ago after a ceasefire failed. The Kremlin leader called it a “tragedy” but did not say who he thought had brought the Boeing 777 down.

He also called for a “thorough and unbiased” investigation and for a ceasefire to allow for negotiations.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Nightlife businesses petition government to reopen, sell alcohol

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Koh Larn 70% vaccinated as Pattaya eyes reopening

Economy10 hours ago

BMA extends permits for street vendors to 2 years for stability

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Phuket12 hours ago

Expats in Phuket without a work permit can register for a Covid-19 vaccine

Environment12 hours ago

Tar balls wash ashore on several Phuket beaches

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Private vaccines, PM promises to re-open Thailand, Phuket Sandbox | June 17

Thailand13 hours ago

2 dead following truck crash

Thailand13 hours ago

Outbreaks at factories rise, operators ordered to file Covid risk assessment

Thailand13 hours ago

Prayut going to Phuket, see if it’s Sandbox ready

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

Chulabhorn Royal Academy details Sinopharm vaccine insurance

Thailand14 hours ago

Thai-English auto-translate down on Facebook due to “technical issues”

Best of14 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Phuket

Crime14 hours ago

Famous/infamous murder suspect out on bail wins lottery

Thailand15 hours ago

Police arrest 2 men for allegedly trying to extort 2 million baht from a man

Phuket15 hours ago

Electricty outages in Phuket today

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending