White House
11:36 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Obama Calls for a Ceasefire in Ukraine

President Barack Obama said one American was killed on a downed plane in Ukraine on Thursday, and that the airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, where he said heavily armed and trained separatists receive Russian support.

Obama called the incident a global tragedy in remarks from the White House, one day after Malaysia Airline Flight 17 crashed. He demanded a credible investigation of the downed plane, which was carrying 298 people and was shot, Obama said, from rebel-held territory in Ukraine near the border with Russia.

At the United Nations in New York, an emergency meeting of the Security Council took place on Friday. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said a surface-to-air missile was fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists who previously boasted about obtaining such missiles. She said Russia has provided SA-11s and other heavy weapons to the separatists.

"If indeed Russian-backed separatists were behind this attack on a civilian airliner," Power said, "they and their backers would have good reason to cover up evidence of their crime. Thus it is extremely important than an investigation be commenced immediately."

The Security Council called for "a full, thorough and independent international investigation."

The downed plane incident occurred one day after Obama announced broader economic sanctions against Russia for its threatening moves in Ukraine.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.