Kerry lays out Russia's role in Malaysia Airlines crash

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reviewed the evidence on Sunday that points to Russian involvement in shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |  July 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made the media rounds Sunday, presenting the evidence that points to Russian involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine.

When asked by Bob Schieffer of CBS's Face the Nation whether the evidence proves Russia's direct involvement, Kerry acknowledged that "the investigation is going to draw conclusions that are 'definitive.'" For now, "What we have is a lot of evidence that points in a direction that raises very, very serious questions."

The U.S. and NATO have called on Russia for months to cease support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's restive east and to take concrete steps to de-escalate the crisis.

In an interview with Candy Crowley of CNN's State of the Union, Kerry laid out evidence that Russia recently provided the separatists with weapons, Russian-backed separatists claimed responsibility immediately after the crash via social media, voice intercepts discussing the shoot-down, and video showing a rocket launcher with a missing missile returning to Russia.

"There was a convoy several weeks ago of about 150 vehicles with armed personnel carrier, multiple rocket launchers, tanks, artillery, all of which crossed over from Russia into the eastern part of Ukraine and was turned over to the separatists."

The rocket launcher "is a system that was transferred from Russia in the hands of separatists. We know with confidence -- with confidence," Kerry pointed out, "that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point in time."

According to U.S. imagery, Kerry told CBS, the suspected SA-11 missile used in the attack was in the vicinity at the time the passenger jet was shot down. "And we know that -- we have a video now of a transporter removing an SA-11 system back into Russia, and it shows a missing missile or so."

Russia has agreed to participate in an international investigation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine for the downed passenger jet, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian armed forces for months.

In a televised address on Friday about the situation in Ukraine, U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the provocative actions of Russia in arming and training separatists across the border.

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