News / USA

US Confident Missile Came From Separatist-Held Territory

US Confident Missile Came From Separatist-Held Territoryi
X
Jeff Seldin
July 19, 2014 4:26 AM
The United States says it is confident the missile that took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was launched from territory held by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The task of determining exactly who pulled the trigger, however, now falls to investigators, who will face some challenges. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon.

The United States says it is confident the missile that took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was launched from territory held by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The task of determining exactly who pulled the trigger, however, now falls to investigators, who will face some challenges.

The ominous pillar of black smoke, debris streaming down -- remnants of what was Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 are caught on amateur video -- and the world is demanding an explanation.

“No one can deny the truth in the awful images we all have seen," said President Barack Obama. "And the eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine and we are going to make sure that the truth is out.”

The president said Friday the United States already has a good idea of what that truth is.

“We have confidence in saying that that shot was taken within territory that is controlled by the Russian separatists,” said Obama.

U.S. officials refuse to say definitively who pulled the trigger, but they believe the weapon system behind the tragedy is a Buk, a Russian-made mobile surface-to-air missile system.

Separatists claimed to have captured one from the Ukrainian military and Ukraine released video on Friday claiming to show one on the move near the crash site, heading toward the Russian border.  

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said, “It strains credulity that it could be used by separatists without at least some measure of Russian support and technical assistance.”

Such help may have been easily available.  

Boris Zilberman at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said, “You have a lot of folks in the Donetsk irregular military that are former Russian intelligence, military intelligence, GRU or fought in Afghanistan or other Russian conflicts.”

The crash site itself could also yield more clues, according to Stratfor military analyst Sim Tack, speaking via Skype.

“Different types of missiles and different generations of production of these systems will have variations in explosives in the warhead that will leave separate traces on the debris that might be distinguished,” said Tack.

There are concerns that due to the location of the crash site in separatist-held territory, though, time may be running out.

“There’s been a lot of tampering with the evidence there. We have seen video footage of rebels collecting passports and debris on the site,” said Tack.

U.S. officials caution it is still early and that more information will likely surface over the next few days and weeks.

That will be of little comfort to friends and relatives mourning loved ones they will never see again.


Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More