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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Plane shot down in area controlled by separatists: Obama

Published on Jul 19, 2014 1:40 AM
US President Barack Obama makes a statement on Ukraine from the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, July 18, 2014. President Obama said that the Malaysia plane downing was an 'unspeakable' tragedy. -- PHOTO: AFP 

US President Barack Obama has given the clearest indication yet of who might be responsible for the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, saying that the plane was hit by surface-to-air missiles in an area of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

While he stopped short of directly pointing the blame at Russian President Vladimir Putin - saying it was too early to say with certainty who fired the missile - Mr Obama made clear line between the separatists and Russia.

Without Russian support, he said: "It is not possible for these separatists to function how they're functioning."

And regardless of who is responsible for the downing of the plane, Mr Obama said that Mr Putin had the power to put an end to the violence: "He has the most control over that situation and, so far, he has not exercised it."

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