News / USA

Obama Pledges US Help for Malaysian Plane Probe

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the Port of Wilmington in Wilmington, Delaware about the economy and the Malaysian airliner brought down over eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard, July 17, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the Port of Wilmington in Wilmington, Delaware about the economy and the Malaysian airliner brought down over eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard, July 17, 2014.
Reuters

President Barack Obama directed U.S. officials on Thursday to do all they could to support an investigation into what caused a Malaysian jetliner to crash in a Ukraine war zone and pledged support to the affected countries as the probe moves forward.

Obama went ahead with a trip to tout infrastructure investment in Delaware and to raise money for Democrats in New York despite the incident in which 295 people, including reportedly 23 Americans, lost their lives.

Before leaving the White House, Obama held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the United States on Wednesday imposed the most wide-ranging sanctions yet on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine.

During the call, which came at Moscow's request, Putin informed Obama about the downed plane.

"I can confirm that President Putin near the end of this morning's phone call with President Obama noted the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations of blame over the incident, cranking up global pressure for a way out of a bloody local conflict that risks fueling a new Cold War.

Obama made brief remarks about the plane at the beginning of a speech about roads and bridges in Wilmington, Delaware.

"It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy," he said. "I've directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why."

Vice President Joe Biden said it appeared that the downing of the jetliner near the Ukraine-Russia border was not an accident and that the passenger jet apparently was "blown out of the sky."

"This is truly a grave situation," he said during a speech in Detroit. The two leaders said the United States was working to confirm reports that Americans had been on board.

Both Obama and Biden spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, offering assistance to help determine what happened to the downed Boeing 777.

Obama and his Ukrainian counterpart emphasized that evidence from the crash must remain in Ukraine so that international investigators had a chance to look at all of it.

Obama also called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to express condolences and offer U.S. support.

Adds unpredictable element

The crash injected an unpredictable element into the increasingly violent confrontation between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Republican lawmakers, who have called for tough U.S. action against Moscow over Ukraine, quickly called for retaliation against Russia if it were found to have been involved in the crash.

"I believe there should be serious consequences if we find out that it was either Russian agents, Russian equipment or Russians directly that were responsible for the downing of this airliner," New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte said in a speech in the U.S. Senate.

Obama, determined not to appear to be a hostage of world events, continued with his trip after warning Putin that the United States could impose more sanctions on Russia if Moscow did not take steps to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis.

The new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia included penalties against Russia's largest oil producer, Rosneft and other energy, financial and defense firms.

In Wilmington, Obama ate a hamburger with a supporter at a diner after shaking hands and hugging children in the restaurant.

In New York, he attended Democratic fundraisers that were not open to the press.

Seeking to show that Obama was on top of the crisis despite his travel, the White House said he convened separate calls with Secretary of State John Kerry and senior members of his national security team, including CIA Director John Brennan, after Air Force One arrived in New York.

The president was briefed on our ongoing efforts to support the Ukrainian government and a prompt international investigation into what took place," the White House said.

"The president directed his national security team to continue offering whatever assistance is necessary to advance the international effort to determine what happened."

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid