Monday, July 21, 2014

Russia Must Act to Reduce Tensions in Ukraine, Kerry Says

Secretary of State John Kerry discussed
the downing of a passenger plane in
Ukraine in a series of television
IIP Digital - 20 July 2014

Washington ― Russia’s actions contributed to the circumstances that caused the crash of a plane carrying nearly 300 people in Ukraine and it must take responsibility, Secretary of State John Kerry says.

“There are an enormous array of facts that point at Russia’s support for and involvement” in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Kerry told George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week, adding that “it’s really a moment of truth for Russia to step up and be part of the solution.”

In a series of appearances on national news programs July 20, the secretary outlined the facts currently known about the downing of a passenger flight in eastern Ukraine and reiterated the Obama administration’s call for a free and unfettered investigation of the crash site.

• On ABC’s This Week: The United States “tracked the imagery of the launch of this surface-to-air missile, of the disappearance of the aircraft from the radar at that time. We know that this comports with an SA-11 system because it hit an aircraft at the altitude of 33,000 feet. We know to a fact that the separatists bragged on the social media immediately afterwards about the shoot-down … .”

• On CNN’s State of the Union: “[I]t’s pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia in the hands of separatists. We know with confidence – with confidence – that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point in time.”

• On CBS’s Face the Nation: "We only had 75 minutes of access to the site on Friday, three hours of access yesterday, despite Mr. Putin and Russia saying they were going to make every effort to make sure there would be a full and fair investigation, thorough, and the site would be protected."

• On NBC’s Meet the Press: “[W]hat’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything that President Putin and Russia said that they would do. There are reports of drunken separatist soldiers unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies as well as evidence from the site.”

• On Fox’s Fox News Sunday: “Some of the leaders of the separatists are Russian. Russia arms these separatists. Russia trains these separatists. Russia supports these separatists. Russia has spoken out and has refused to call on them publicly to do the things that need to be done. So I think this is a fundamental moment of truth for Russia, for Mr. Putin. They need to exert all of the influence that they have in order to protect the full integrity of this investigation.”

The secretary echoed statements by President Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power that Russia can and must do more to ensure investigators have full access to the debris field of the crash, and, more broadly, to stop the violence in eastern Ukraine.


During a July 19 telephone call with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kerry urged Russia to take immediate and clear actions to reduce tensions in Ukraine, according to the State Department.

Specially, Kerry urged Russia to call on pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine to lay down arms, release all hostages and engage in a political dialogue toward peace with the Ukrainian government. He also asked Russia to halt the flow of weapons and fighters into eastern Ukraine and to allow observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to help secure the border.

The State Department said the secretary particularly stressed the international call for investigators to receive full, immediate, and unfettered access to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site, and underscored that the United States remains deeply concerned that, for the second day in a row, OSCE monitors and international investigators were denied proper access to the crash site.

The United States is also very concerned about reports that the remains of some victims and debris from the site are being tampered with or inappropriately removed from the site.

Kerry and Lavrov also briefly discussed the situation on the ground in Gaza and agreed to stay in touch in the coming days.

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