Evidence Points to Separatist Shoot Down of Airliner, US Claims

Addressing the United Nations Security Council Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power gave the first detailed public remarks by a senior US official on the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 over Ukraine on Thursday. The airliner was “likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist held location in eastern Ukraine,” she told the UNSC. MH-17 was traveling at 33,000 feet along an established corridor for commercial flights, and transmitted its assigned transponder code. Because of this profile, it is unlikely that short-range man portable missiles, known to be in the area, could have hit the aircraft. The “technical complexity” of an SA-11 makes it unlikely separatists could effectively operate the missile without assistance from “knowledgeable personnel”—and the US cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel, she added. The Ukrainians do not have SA-11 systems in their inventory, and the US is not aware of any Ukrainian SAMs in the area of the shoot down. (Power transcript)