about the risks of further escalation and further loss of life. although we support military efforts by the israelis to make sure rockets are not being fired into their territory, we also have said that our understanding is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels, and we are hopeful that israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the ceasefire that was reached in november of 2012. secretary kerry is working to support egypt's initiative to pursue that outcome. i hold prime minister netenyahu that john is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations. let me close by making one additional comment.
on board malaysian airlines flight that went down, there are 100 scientists dedicated to combatting hiv. these were men and women who had dedicated their lives to saving the lives of others. in this world today, we shouldn't forget, then, that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these. people that are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed. people focused on how they can help people they have never met. people that define themselves by the humanity that we hold in come non-. it's important for us to lift them up and affirm their lives. the united states of america is going to continue to stand for the basic principal that people
have the right to live as they choose, nations have the right to determine their own destiny, and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community standings on the side of justice and truth. let me take a couple of questions. >> reporter: mr. president does the u.s. believe this passenger jet was targeted or may have been going after a military aircraft? and more broodly this incident does seem to escalate the presence in ukraine to a level we haven't seen before. does that change your calculus in terms of what the u.s. should be doing? >> well, i think it's too early for us to guess what the intentions of those who might have launched the -- the surface to air missile might have had. the investigation is going to be ongoing and i think what we'll see is additional information
surfacing over the next 24 hours, 72 hours, the next week, the next month. what we know right now, what we have confidence in saying right now is that a surface to air missile was fired and that's what brought the jet down. we know -- or we have confidence in saying that that shot was taken within territory that is controlled by the russian separatists. but i think it's very important for us to make sure that we don't get out ahead of the facts. and at this point in terms of identifying specifically what individual or group of individuals or personnel ordered the -- the strike, how it came about, those are things that i think are still going to be subject to additional information that we're going to be gathering. and we're working with the entire international community to make sure the focus is on getting to the bottom of this thing, and being truthful.
and my concern is obviously that there has been a lot of misinformation generated in eastern ukraine generally. this should snap everybody's heads to attention to make sure we don't have time for propaganda or games. we need to know exactly what happened and everybody needs to make sure we're holding accountable those who committed this outrage. with respect to the second question, as you are aware, before this terrible incident happened, we had already ratcheted up sanctions against russia and i think the concern not just of russian officials, but of the markets, about the impact that this could have on the russian economy is there for all to see. i made clear to president putin, that our preferred path is to resolve this diplomatically. but that means that he and the russian government have to make
a strategic decision. are they going to continue to support violent separatists who's intent is to undermine the government of ukraine, or are they prepared to work with the government of ukraine to arrive at a ceasefire and a peace that takes into account the interests of all ukrainians? there has been some improved language at times over the last month coming from the kremlin and president putin, but what we have not seen is an actual transition, and different actions that would give us confidence that that's the direction that they want to take. and, you know, we will continue to make clear that as russia, you know, engages in efforts that are supporting the
separatists that we have the capacity to increase the cost that we impose on them. and we will do so. not because we're interested in hurting russia for the sake of hurting russia, but because we believe in standing up for the basic principle that a country's sovereignty has to be respected, and it's not the united states, or russia or germany or any other country that should be deciding what happens in that country. >> reporter: will we see any u.s. military role that could be affected? this >> we don't see a u.s. military role beyond what we have already been doing in working with our nato partners and some of the baltic states, giving them reassurances that we're prepared to do whatever is required to meet our obligations. steve holland. >> reporter: how much blame for this do you put on president putin, and [ inaudible ] to push
the europeans for stronger action? >> we don't know exactly what happened yet, and i don't want to, as i said before, get out ahead of the facts, but what i do know is -- 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 ceasefire and to reach out and agree to negotiations, including with the separatists, that has been rebuffed by these separatists. we know that they are heavily armed, and that they are trained, and we know that that's not an accident. that is happening because of russian support. so, you know, it -- it is not possible for these separatists to function the way they are functioning, to have the equipment that they have, set aside what has happened with respect to the malaysian
airlines, a group of separatists can't shoot down military transport planes or they claim shoot down fighter jets without sophisticated equipment and training, and that is coming from russia. so we don't yet know exactly what happened with respect to the military -- malaysian airlines, although obviously we're beginning to draw some conclusions given the nature of the shot that was fired. there are only certain types of anti-aircraft missiles that can reach up 30,000 feet and shoot down a passenger jet. we have increasing confidence that it came from areas controlled by the separatists, but without having a definitive judgment on those issues yet, what we do know is, is that the
violence that's taking place there is facilitated in large part because of russian support. they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction. if mr. putin makes the decision that we are not going to allow heavy armaments and the flow of fighters into ukraine, across the ukrainian/russian border, then it will stop. and if it stops, then the separatists will still have the capacity to enter into negotiations and try to arrive at the sort of political accommodations that mr. putin himself says he wants to see. he has the most control over that situation. and so far at least he has not exercised it. >> reporter: tougher sanctions in europe -- >> well, i think that this certainly will be a wake-up call
for europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict this eastern ukraine, that it is not going to be localized or contained. what we have seen here is just in one country alone, our -- our great allies, the dutch, 150 or more of their citizens being killed. and that i think sadly brings home the degree to which the stakes are high for europe not simply the ukrainian people, and that we have to be firm in our resolve in this making sure that we are supporting ukrainians' efforts to bring about a just ceasefire and we can move towards a political solution to this. i'm going to make this the last question. lisa.
>> reporter: do we know yet [ inaudible ] you mentioned and how do you prevent stricter restrictions [ inaudible ] shocking the global economy [ inaudible ]? >> we -- we have been pretty methodical over the last 24 hours in working through the flight manifest, and identifying which passengers might have had a u.s. passport. at this point, the individual that i mentioned is the sole person that we can definitively say was a u.s. or duel citizen. because events are moving so quickly, i don't want to say with absolute certainty that there might not be additional americans, but at this stage, having worked through the list, been in contact with the
malaysian go, which, you know, processed the passports, you know, as folks were boarding, this is our best assessment of the number of americans that were killed. obviously, that does nothing to lessen our outrage about all of those families, regardless of nationality, it is -- it is a heart breaking event. with respect to the effect of sanctions on the economy, we have consistently tried to tailor the sanctions in ways that would have an impact on russia, on their economy, on their institutions or individuals that are aiding and abetting in the activities taking place in eastern ukraine, while minimizing the impacts on not only the u.s. economy, but the global economy. it is a relevant consideration that we have to keep in mind. the world economy is integrated, russia is a large economy.
there is a lot of, you know, financial flows between russia and the rest of the world, but we feel confident that at this point the sanctions that we put in place are imposing across on russia that their overall impact on the global economy is minimal. it is something that we have to -- obviously pay close attention to. all right. thank you very much, everybody. you have been listening to the president of the united states addressing the ongoing crisis in ukraine concerning the downing of the malaysian aircraft. 189 victims from the netherlands, 44 from malaysia, 27 from australia, and the president confirming today that one of the passengers was from the united states. he also indicated that it is the brief of u.s. intelligences that the plane was shot down by a
surface to air missile from an area controlled by the separatists. mike viqueira our white house correspondent is standing by live. the president taking us up to the water's edge but stopping short of indicating who pulled the trigger. >> that's well put. and you don't have to read too hard between the lines to determine that this is a shut and closed case. yes, it was a russian made sa-11, fired from territory controlled by the separatists after all if you are a trial lawyer you are not going to determine the jury pool before you present the case. the jury being the international community in this case.
the need to maintain the integrity. the russians are thought to be responsible for downing this plane. and that is something that the president is very much interested in united the international community. you heard it as a wake-up call. struggling to bringing sanctions in line. notwithstanding the tragedy and horror of what has happened here over the course of the last 48 to 36 hours in bringing down that airplane, ultimately looking at the long view, the president who did call for an immediate ceasefire to hostilities, this could be a defining moment to straighten out and finally bring to a resolution what has been happening in ukraine and eastern ukraine at the hand of the
russians. >> mike, one of the things that you don't normally see concerning this particular president was a noticeable sigh when he was asked about the role of russian president vladimir putin concerning this, and then he responded that there might be a situation where the president -- where the russian president bares some responsibility. >> well, and he said he'll likely see some misinformation coming from the russian and separatists side, and i think that was a clear and abrupt and forceful warning that vladimir putin and the russian government are capable of that. that has been the pattern all through this conflict. the president noting that he was on the telephone with vladimir putin, yesterday. obviously relations at an all-time low here -- or
obviously within the last 30 years since the end of the cold war, things are not getting better. this could be a crystallizing moment in the future of that relationship as well as rush sla's relationship with ukraine and the rest of western europe, del. >> and he was also talking about the fact that he had a phone conversation with prime minister benjamin netenyahu. >> yeah. >> and this new ground incursion in gaza might be limited. >> you are absolutely right, and this is something that has been stressed since late last night. secretary kerry had a conversation with prime minister netenyahu before the president this morning. and it was fascinating to see what their emphasized coming out of that conversation, that is the limited nature, seizing on the israeli objective as stated by netenyahu of eliminating
these tunnels from gaza into israel to infiltrate, the infiltration of terrorists into israel. secretary kerry going out of his way, speaking for the entire administration, i have to say, that this was the objective, they support israel in this objective, but this clearly was the goal. now the question is do the israelis agree? there are certainly strong indications they want to go further than that. never the less the white house anticipating the pressure that will be coming in thement -- the coming days to put pressure to stop their incursion into gaza. and therefore, the white house setting forth this clear parameter for the israeli military. the president has said what he has said all along, he is working to support a ceasefire.
mentioning again the egyptian initiative set forth a few days ago. >> mike thank you very much. gaza right now, 270 people dead. 290 people dead in the ukraine, the government pointing out that 3 of those had an i beside their name, meaning they were infants. we're going to take a break. we'll be right back. ♪
so earlier today, some finger pointing by the russian president over this tragedy. vladimir putin said it would never have happened if there was peace in ukraine, so he blamed ukraine for what happened here today. let's bring in glen howard. he is is the president of the james town foundation. and an expert on the region. thank you for your time.
what's your reaction to kind of the name -- the blame game, and the finger pointing that's coming from russian president >> and lived up to a ceasefire despite repeated violations by the separatists. violations that took the lives of ukrainian soldiers and personnel. moreover time and again, russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation. >> that is president obama from the white house briefing room just moments ago talking about the ongoing crisis in ukraine. meanwhile in europe a number of world leaders are speaking out against the downing of the malaysian flight. angela merkel and vladimir putin are calling for a ceasefire. phil ittner is in london, and tell us more about what president putin had to say, and
any reaction to what president obama just had to say? >> as far as vladimir putin is concerned, let's go there first. vladimir putin has come out and said there needs to be an investigation. that there should be a negotiation started to try to end this conflict. but we are seeing these two sides -- basically two sides lining up as they have since this entire conflict began. and each point the finger at one another, saying all of this is your fault. the west says russia is instigating this, sending in russian support. and that's where these trained operatives have come from, and that's what the west and the government in kiev is saying. moscow and vladimir putin are saying you guys caused the instability, you drove -- you, the europe and the west, and the new regime in kiev, you drove
the separatists to rise up and create an unstable situation in the east of the country that lead to this tragedy. del, look, that has been going on for months now, and i think we're seeing the arguments line up as that has gone. as far as reaction to what the president of the united states had to say just moments ago, you know, there's a lot of very strong language aimed and russia, russia has traditionally gotten its back up when that kind of stuff comes along, and i suspect that's what will happen again. but i also want to make one last point as far as what the president said in washington, that this needs to be a wake-up call. one of the problems has been the ukrainians have been reluctant to impose stin combenth measures against russia, but
that's what washington wants to see, and we'll have to wait and see whether or not europe now takes a different position. >> and phil, based on what we have heard already this morning from german chancellor angela merkel, is this a wake-up call? >> we have heard strong language from angela merkel saying there needs to be a ceasefire and an investigation into what happened. she called vladimir putin himself -- she called out the russian president by name, and said they need to take a more proactive position in trying to bring about a ceasefire and negotiated settlement. that is strong language, but are we going to see more sanctions, del? that's what a lot of people want to know about. because the europeans have dragged their feet about
actually doing something punitive against russia because of these strong economic ties. so yes, we have heard strong language from angela merkel really for the first time in regards to this tragedy, but will it be backed up with action and i think that's what the world will want to see. we'll have to see whether or not the europeans are so incensed and all of their citizens that were killed that it will drive them to do something concrete. >> phil ittner for us on the diplomatic front in london. thank you very much. with so many people from so many different countries on board this disaster, of course affecting people all around the world, 189 from the netherlands, several countries are joining in the crash investigation. the president also mentioning the fbi and the ntsb are on
their way. lisa you have covered an awful lot of aviation disasters, anything that you glean from the president's speech that bares pointing out? >> we did mention, del that this was a global tragedy, and then he went on to say it is important to have a credible international investigation. he said the un security council has already endorsed that, and that is the u.s. is going to hold russia to that promise, that there has to be a credible international investigation. both the fbi and ntsb each sending at least one investigator to kiev at this point to assist in this investigation. the president also -- as have others -- called for an immediate ceasefire, so investigators can get in there and start looking, and more importantly for the families so the remains can be recovered and returned to their loved ones. that will be the first order of
business before investigate fors can get -- have a good look at the debris and of course also they will be looking for the black boxes. the president also said no one can deny the truth that we see in this wreckage and he promised that the u.s. could ensure that the truth does get out there. and he pointed out that this violence in ukraine, and you talked about this on the air, this violence in ukraine can't be contained obviously. look what happened here. and he said this points out the need for a pause, to take a strong look, to realize there are worldwide implications of what is going on in this small corner of the world. so the president speaking forcefully, saying that u.s. intelligence believes that the missile was launched from the ukraine side of the border, but we should point out that samantha powers did point out -- has not ruled out that there may be russian help in that launching.
and the president also said he could not talk about at this point the motives of those who launched this missile. del? >> and in about 30 seconds one of the things that bares pointing out is this is not only an international crash investigation, but there are 293 bodies on board that plane, and families that will be demanding an international crime scene investigation. >> absolutely. it is a criminal investigation. that's how it will be looked at and approached. and obviously malaysia and others have called for full consequences against those responsible for this action. >> lisa thank you very much. and a reminder we continue to follow all of the day's developments. of course there is the ongoing investigation into the downing of malaysian airlines flight 17, 293 people on board. you heard samantha powers saying among those who died were three infants. we're tracking all of the day's