Evidence gathered by US intelligence indicates the missile that struck Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was launched from territory inside Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists, President Barack Obama said at a press conference.
US intelligence also has observed the separatists receiving support from the Russian military, including training and sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons, Obama says.
Obama also noted that pro-Russian separatists have in recent weeks shot down a Ukrainian military transport aircraft and a helicopter. He also noted that the separatists claimed to have shot down a Ukrainian fighter.
Obama, however, maintained a note of caution. Though the intelligence data gives the US confidence in the conclusions reached so far, Obama says that not all the facts are known.
“We don’t know exactly what happened yet,” Obama says.
US information so far does not point to a likely motive for the missile attack.
“It’s too early to be able to guess what the intentions of those who launched the surface to air missile might have had,” Obama says.
Separately, the US ambassador to the United Nations has told the UN Security Council that the Boeing 777-200 flown by Malaysia Airlines was shot down by the radar-guided SA-11 surface-to-air missile.
Russian officials have denied involvement in the alleged shoot down of the airliner. Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin also says that Ukraine’s air traffic controllers should be investigated for allowing the 777-200 to overfly disputed territory.