“We will continue to make clear that as Russia engages in efforts that are supporting the separatists, that we have the capacity to increase the costs that we impose on them. And we will do so,” NerObama told reporters at a White House press conference July 18 on Ukraine and the downing of MH17.
While claiming that he’s “waiting” until “the facts are in” before blaming Russia for “shooting down” the plane, Obama when asked, “how much blame to put on Putin,” said:
“We don’t exactly know what happened yet…. But what I do know is, is that we have seen a ticking up of violence in eastern Ukraine that, despite the efforts of the Ukrainian government to abide by a cease-fire and to reach out and agree to negotiations, including with the separatists, that has been rebuffed by these separatists. We know that they are heavily armed and that they are trained. And we know that that’s not an accident. That is happening because of Russian support.
“So it is not possible for these separatists to function the way they’re functioning, to have the equipment that they have—set aside what’s happened with respect to the Malaysian Airlines—a group of separatists can’t shoot down military transport planes or, they claim, shoot down fighter jets without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training. And that is coming from Russia.”
As his UN envoy, humanitarian interventionist witch Samantha Power had said earlier on July 18, Obama rattled off a list of planes and helicopters that the separitists had claimed they shot down—treating that as “evidence” of Russia’s responsibility. At the end of his press conference Obama also warned that this should be a “wake-up call” for Europe on the question of sanctions against Russia.
Earlier on Friday, Power delivered a propaganda tour de force at the emergency meeting on the Ukraine at the UN Security Council.
“Separatists initially claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane, and claimed responsibility and posted videos that are now being connected to the Malaysian Airlines crash,” Power said. “Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel,” she added.
She said—and then tweeted—a list of aircraft supposedly downed by pro-Russian separitists: “6/13 Downed transport plane; 6/24 Downed helicopter; 7/14 Downed cargo plane; 7/16 Downed jet.” She also charged Russia with moving massive amounts of ammunition, anti-aircraft systems, and even “military vehicles” across the border, and encouraging recruitment of experienced military personnel from Russia to help man the systems in Eastern Ukraine. Even the Russian deployment of troops inside its own territory was listed by Power as part of the “evidence.”
Kiev government figures also made statements Friday, evidently crafted to push the blame onto Russia. While Internal Affairs Ministry official Anton Gerashchenko had said on Thursday—before any investigation begins—that Flight MH17 was definitely downed by a Buk surface-to-air missile, Friday Prosecutor General Vitali Yarema particularly stressed in an interview with Ukrainskaya Pravda, that the militias of the People’s Republics have not captured such SAM systems from Ukrainian forces (as had been claimed by militia sources back in June). Then Ukrainian Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, a core coup figure known for his U.S. ties, gave a press conference to claim that two Russian citizens had been detained on the border in Donetsk Region, attempting to drive “the remaining Buk missiles back into Russia.” He stated that they were carrying military papers identifying them as “aim adjusters.” Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) spokesman Alexei Komarov denied this, explaining that the “aim adjuster” job description doesn’t even apply to SAM systems. The MoD also officially stated that “air defense means of the Russian armed forces were not operating in that region on July 17.” The MoD deplored any rush to judgment, citing Kiev’s claims that its own ground- or air-based system could not have fired at the plane. “It is impossible to draw this definite conclusion within such a short period of time, against the backdrop of fierce fighting in that area,” it said. “We ask the international community to hold a thorough and absolutely transparent inquiry into this plane crash.