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MH17 crash: How world leaders & UK leaders have reacted

18th Jul 14 10:06 am

US President Barack Obama

Obama has not said a great deal about the crash at time of writing, but his first comments were that it “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy”.

He said his administration is “working to determine whether there were American citizens on board; that is our first priority”.

He has also called for “prompt, full, credible and unimpeded” international probe into the crash.

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

Putin is blaming Ukraine for the crash.

In a statement issued by the Kremlin, he said: “This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land [Ukraine], if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.”

He said he would do “everything that depends on us […] in order that the objective picture of what happened is part of the public domain here, in Ukraine and in the rest of the world”.

“This is an absolutely unacceptable thing, and no one has the right to let this pass without the appropriate conclusions and without all of us having objective information about the incident.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko:

Poroshenko is calling the MH17 crash “an act of terrorism”.

“This was not an ‘incident’, this was not a ‘catastrophe’, this was a terrorist act,” he said.

“We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” he said. “We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”

Obama and Poroshenko’s telephone call:

According to the White House summary of the call, Poroshenko “welcomed the assistance of international investigators to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation of the crash site”.

It added: “The presidents emphasized that all evidence from the crash site must remain in place on the territory of Ukraine until international investigators are able to examine all aspects of the tragedy.”

From President Obama’s call with Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, reported by the White House:

“President Obama called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib today to express condolences to the people of Malaysia for the terrible loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, as well as all the families who lost loved ones in this tragic event.

“The President told the Prime Minister that United States has offered immediate assistance to support a prompt international investigation. President Obama reaffirmed the strength of the friendship between the United States and Malaysia and underscored that the United States stands ready to provide any assistance or support necessary.”

The Kremlin, on how Putin told Obama of the crash on a phonecall:

“The Russian leader informed the US president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call.” There are no further details about what they discussed on the call in relation to the crash.

David Cameron has tweeted:

“I’m shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster. Officials from across Whitehall are meeting to establish the facts.” 

Ed Miliband said:

“Truly awful news about the Malaysian Airlines flight. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends.” 

British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond:

“We are working through passenger data, cross-checking it and referencing it to establish exactly the numbers and identities of those British nationals.”

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor:

Angela Merkel wants an “immediate, independent investigation into the causes of the crash”. Steffen Seibert, Germany’s government spokesperson, said: “For the chancellor, the suspected circumstances in which the plane was allegedly shot down from a great height are shocking. […] If this news is confirmed, she said it would represent a further tragic escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister:

Abbott has said the world should be “filled with revulsion” at the crisis and loss of lives, and he’s threatened to ban Putin from visiting Australia for the G20 summit later this year if he doesn’t cooperate with the investigation.

“This is a test for Russia. […] There can be no excuses, no buck passing, no blame shifting,” he said. “Russia’s whole standing in the world is at risk here.”

He added: “The bullying of small countries by big ones, the trampling of justice and decency in the pursuit of national aggrandisement, and reckless indifference to human life should have no place in our world.”

He also said to an Australian radio station, 3AW: “This is no light thing. This is not something that can just be dismissed as a tragic accident when you have Russian proxies using Russian-supplied equipment to do terrible things – if in fact this is what turns out to have been the case.

“At the moment all we can say is the indications are this way,”

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