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

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid