The Malaysian Airlines flight 17 disaster has the U.S. and other leaders lobbing blame and harsh criticism toward Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. Monday, Mr. Putin responded sternly to his critic’s accusations and criticism. Fox News reported that Vladimir Putin said:
“We can say with confidence that if fighting in eastern Ukraine had not been renewed on June 28, this tragedy would not have happened. Nobody should or does have a right to use this tragedy for such mercenary objectives.”
Vladimir Putin went on to ensure that Russia was doing everything possible to permit a team of experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, to investigate the scene. He again criticized Ukrainian authorities in Kiev for reigniting the fighting with the pro-Russian separatists who control the crash site. The same “pro-Russia” rebels have been accused of moving 38 bodies from the crash site and loaded them on trucks headed to a morgue in Donetsk. According to the Star-Telegram, the Ukrainian government claims emergency services were forced by the separatists to leave the site.
The harshest criticism of Vladimir Putin in the past few days have come from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Both countries have laid the blame on Russia’s door step. Vladimir Putin’s American and British critics laid their accusations Sunday. While John Kerry was discussing the crash, he told CBS New’s Face the Nation that there was an “enormous amount of evidence” in regards to Russia’s involvement. However, his harshest criticism came at length, but included:
“And we know that the Russians have armed the separatists, trained the separatists, support the separatists, and have, to date, not publicly called on the separatists to stand down or to be part of the solution.”
Prime Minister David Cameron had a slightly different yet still harsh critique of Vladimir Putin’s response to the investigation into the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. “If this is the case then we must be clear what it means: this is a direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them,” Cameron wrote in an Op-ed in the British Sunday Times, according to Politico.
Monday Afternoon, President Barack Obama took to the podium outside the White House to address updates on the Malaysian Flight 17 crash:
“With respect to Ukraine, it has now been four days since Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. Over the last several days, our hearts have been broken as we learn more about the extraordinary, beautiful lives of those lost. Men, Women, and Children, infants that were killed so senselessly. Our hearts go out to their families. Our immediate focus is on recovering those who were lost. investigating exactly what happen and putting forth the facts. We have to make sure the truth is out and accountability exists.”
He said international teams are in place and ready to walk the crash site, but Russian-backed separatists who control the area continue to block the area and refuse access by firing weapons in the air.” What exactly are they trying to hide?” the President said. He went on to say:
“Russia has tremendous influence on these separatists. Russia has urged them on, trained them, and armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons. Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens. Given its directive on the separatists, Russia and President Putin in particular, have a direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least he could do. President Putin says he supports a full and fair investigation. I appreciate those words, but they have to be backed by actions.”
He laid the burden on Russia to stop the rebels from tampering with evidence and grant investigators full, unimpeded access. The president continued by saying that his preference was still for a diplomatic resolution in Ukraine. President Obama believes it could happen, but if Russia continued their present course, they would only continue to be isolated and costs will continue to increase. He told Vladimir Putin is was time to “pivot” from the strategy they have taken and respect Ukraine sovereignty.