PBS NewsHour Extra
President Barack Obama sternly called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Russian-backed separatists to allow international investigators full access to the crash site in Ukraine.
“We have to make sure the truth is out and accountability exists,” Obama said Monday.
Obama accused the separatists of removing evidence and bodies from the site, actions that he said raise the question of “what exactly are they trying to hide?”
The White House blames the separatists for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 people. Officials have also pointed a finger at Russia, arguing that it would be all but impossible for the insurgents to operate the sophisticated missile system without some level of assistance from Russia.
Behind the scenes, the U.S. is also pressing the European Union (EU) to increase economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine. Europe does more business with Russia and is worried that sanctions could boomerang and harm European Union economies. However, given the large number of Europeans killed in last week’s plane crash, U.S. officials believe the EU may be more motivated to act.
Obama said now is the time for Putin to “get serious” about resolving the crisis in Ukraine, warning that failure to do so will result in further isolation and economic costs.
Source: CIA World Fact Book
1. Why might this plane crash investigation involve the leaders of several different countries?
2. Why is it important for international investigators to be able to examine the crash site?
3. Why has the U.S. been careful not to directly blame Russia or the separatists for the plane crash? What might happen if they did?