The crash of MH 17 in Ukraine has upped international pressure on Vladimir Putin as world leaders decry Russia’s role in the attack that left 295 people dead, but the Russian president himself has remained defiant.
The Malaysia Airlines plane was struck with a Russian-made missile on Thursday while flying above a no-fly zone in Ukraine. Russia has been accused of supplying the arms to the Ukrainian rebels, and leaders from around the world are reacting with anger.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had some of the strongest remarks regarding the crash of MH 17, saying that Vladimir Putin needed to be “put on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by.”
In an interview with PBS, Clinton said there are still questions that need to be answered regarding MH 17.
“The questions I’d be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It’s obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning [to target such a plane].
“And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.”
The White House did not officially blame Russia for the plane’s destruction, but did link the situation to support of Ukrainian rebels and called on Vladimir Putin to stop inflaming the conflict in Ukraine.
“The world is watching,” Barack Obama said. “The United States will offer whatever assistance we can to determine what happened and why.”
On Friday, Malaysia’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said the attach on MH 17 was “an outrage against human decency.” Lai noted that Malaysia is sending a team of 62 people to Ukraine to investigate the attack.
Within Ukraine, the government is decrying both the attack and the rebels responsible.
“This was not an incident, this was not a catastrophe, this was a terrorist act,” said Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko.
The Australian government has joined in, with foreign minister Julie Bishop saying the downing of flight MH 17 is an “unspeakable crime.”
Though Russia’s government has ordered military and civilian agencies to participate in the investigation of the crash, Vladimir Putin himself has remained defiant about flight MH 17. His spokesman Dmitry Pesov said that any allegations that Russia was involved in the crash were “stupidity.”