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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid