KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 – United States President Barack Obama spoke from the White House tonight, where he also addressed the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 which was suspected to have been shot down over Ukrainian airspace on Thursday night. Obama also shared the same conviction with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in that the immediate focus was to recover the bodies and launch an investigation to find out what exactly had transpired which led to the tragedy of losing all 298 people on board.
“We have to make sure the truth is out and that accountability exists.” According to a live update of Obama’s address by UK’s The Guardian, the US President said investigators were prepared and were organised to carry out steps that should follow any international incident like this. “What they need right now is immediate and full access to the crash site,” said Obama, calling for a prompt, full, unimpeded and transparent investigation. Pointing out that investigators had so far been blocked from doing their work, Obama also claimed that rebels were removing evidence from the crash site.
“They’re removing bodies from the crash site, often times without the care that we would expect,” he said, adding that the rebels’ behaviour toward the crash site was an insult to those who had lost loved ones. Speaking on the crisis, he mentioned that he would prefer to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis within Ukraine, putting his belief in the fact that it could still happen. “If Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, Russia will only further isolate itself,” he said, calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve hostilities in a way that would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty about their own lives.
“Time is of the essence. It’s the least that decency demands. The world deserves to know exactly what happened, and the people of Ukraine deserve to determine their own future,” he said, adding that the burden was on Russia to convince the separatists to allow investigators access to the site. Obama added that although he appreciated Putin saying he supported a full and transparent investigation, such words needed to be backed by an investigation. He said the separatists were responsible for the safety of the investigators and this and other logistics would be among those addressed today at the UN. Meanwhile, The Guardian quoted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who spoke to CNN, regarding sanctions, as saying they should use all the methods at hands to de-escalate the situation, including introducing new sanctions if that could progress the situation.
Regarding ongoing clashes between the Ukrainian military and the separatists and reports of violence near Donetsk, Poroshenko said the Ukrainian army was doing its best. Earlier, it was reported that a unilateral ceasefire was declared in a 40km radius around the MH17 crash site in order to ensure investigations could be carried out. However, Poroshenko claimed the separatists were attacking his troops while the Ukrainian military would cease fire until the the international investigators completed their work.