News / Europe

Mounting Anger, Calls for Truth About Malaysia Airlines Crash

  • Vice President Joe Biden:  ``(The plane) apparently has been shot down - shot down, not an accident, blown out of the sky.''
  • President Vladimir Putin: ``This tragedy would not have happened if there had been peace on that land, or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed. And without doubt, the government of the territory on which it happened bears responsibility for this frightening tragedy. We will do everything that we can so that an objective picture of what happened can be achieved. This is a completely unacceptable thing.''
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel: ``We need to start an independent investigation as quickly as possible. A ceasefire is needed for that and it's important that those responsible are bought to justice. There are many indications that the plane was shot down, so we have to take things very seriously.  (I am making) a very clear call for the Russian president and government to make their contribution to bringing about a political solution.''
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak: ``If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.''
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko:  ``(The) tragedy showed again that terrorism is not localized, but a world problem. And the external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem, but a threat to European and global security.''
  • Aleksandr Borodai, Prime Minister of the self proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic: ``Apparently, it's a passenger airliner ... truly shot down  by the Ukrainian Air Force.''
  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott: ``We all know that there are problems in Ukraine. We also know who is very substantially to blame for those problems, and the idea that Russia can somehow say that none of this had anything to do with them because it happened in Ukrainian air space frankly does not stand up to any serious scrutiny.''
World Leaders Comment on MH17
Lisa Bryant

Along with shock and grief, demands are growing for a full investigation into the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine that killed nearly 300 people. There is mounting consensus that the crash was caused by a missile strike.

Stock markets plunged on Friday, a day after a Malaysia Airlines jet crashed and burned in a wheat field in rebel-occupied eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The United Nations Security Council was to hold an emergency session to consider a call for a full, independent, international investigation.

Officials in the U.S. say a missile hit the plane - a conclusion experts elsewhere are reaching as well.  In Ukraine, authorities and pro-Russian separatists are trading accusations over the crash. In televised remarks, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described it as an act of terrorism and called for a full investigation.

Rockets have shot down passenger planes before. Here are a few examples:

October 4, 2001

Ukraine's military is conducting an exercise shooting missiles at drones when one missile locks onto a Siberia Airlines plane en route from Novosibirsk to Tel Aviv.  All 78 people on board are killed.

July 3, 1988

U.S. warship Vincennes mistakes Iranian passenger plane for a threatening warplane during the war between Iraq and Iran. All 290 people on board are killed when the airliner is shot down over the Gulf.

September 1, 1983

A Soviet fighter jet shoots down a Korean Air Lines passenger jet over Soviet airspace after mistaking it for a spy plane. All 269 people on board are killed, including U.S. Representative Lawrence McDonald of Georgia.

April 20, 1978  

A Soviet fighter plane attacks an off-course South Korean jetliner. Two passengers die after the plane is forced to crash land.

February 21, 1973

Israeli jets fire at a Libyan Airlines flight traveling from Tripoli to Cairo that drifted into Israeli airspace. Israel claims the plane refused to identify itself. The airliner loses control and crashes, killing 108 people. Five survive the crash.


"Everyone is to be accountable and responsible. I mean everyone who supports these terrorists, including [the] Russian Federation and Russian regime," said President Poroshenko.

Russia denies any involvement in the downing. For their part, Ukrainian separatists have reportedly agreed to help in the investigation and offer experts safe access to the crash site.

Like elsewhere in the world, the crash is dominating the airwaves in the Netherlands, where flags are flying at half staff in mourning for the 173 Dutch passengers who died. The plane also carried citizens from eight other nations, including Malaysia, Australia and Britain.

Speaking shortly after the crash, President Barack Obama joined other world leaders in offering his condolences to the victims' families and loved ones.

"I directed my National Security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance it can to determine what happen and why," said President Obama.

What happened - and why - is the question being asked around the world.

Following an emergency meeting in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron told Sky News the crash was appalling and shocking.

"If, as seems possible, [the plane] was brought down, then those responsible must be held to account and we must lose no time in doing that," said Cameron.

French President Francois Hollande called the crash a "terrible tragedy."

Hollande also demanded that the truth should be established and consequences drawn.

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak called the crash a tragedy in what has been a tragic year. Another Malaysian aircraft disappeared in March carrying 239 people on board.
At a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian officials again said that Flight 17 did not make a distress call and had been flying on a route declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. But there are reports that air routes were closed near the Ukrainian border just hours before the crash, including one on the plane's flight path.

The crash comes just a day after the United States and the European Union tightened sanctions against Russia for its alleged support of separatists in Ukraine, where a months-long conflict between government and rebels has killed more than 600 people.  


You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Quang Ha from: Vietnam
July 19, 2014 5:43 AM
Hey Russia, Ukraine, the rebels and the West, stop trading accusations towards each other. It is not the right time for making use of such event and the deaths for your dirty political purposes. All of you are to blame for this because you have turned that region into a deadly war zone for your own interests so civilian casualties are inevitable, sooner or later. If you try to fire at someone with tanks, must expect them to fire back at you with similar means...and innocent civilians will surely suffer. All of you are hypocrites, no more, no less!

July 19, 2014 1:05 AM

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs