At least one American citizen was among the nearly 300 innocent people killed when a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine, President Obama announced Friday, calling the incident a "global tragedy."
On Thursday, the world saw "an Asian airline destroyed in European skies filled with citizens of many countries," Mr. Obama said from the White House briefing room. The incident, he said, is a "wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences for a conflict in Eastern Ukraine" that are "not going to be localized."
The death of more than 100 Dutch citizens "sadly brings home the degree to which the stakes are high for Europe, not simply the Ukrainian people," Mr. Obama continued, "and we have to be firm in our resolve that we are supporting Ukraine" and the efforts to de-escalate the conflict with separatists.
Evidence indicates the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, Mr. Obama confirmed. And while the president didn't explicitly blame Russia for the event, he did say the pro-Russian separatists "are armed and heavily trained, we know that that's not an accident."
"We don't know exactly what happened yet, and I don't want to get ahead of the facts," Mr. Obama said when asked who is to blame. "What I do know 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 reach out and agree to negotiations including with the separatists, that has been rebuffed by the separatists."