President Obama accused pro-Russia separatists of tampering with evidence at the site of last week’s crash of a Malaysia Airlines jet and called on Russia to use its influence to ensure a credible investigation into the downing of the plane over eastern Ukraine.
“We have to make sure that the truth is out and that accountability exists,” Obama said Monday outside the White House. “What exactly are they trying to hide?”
Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, have a “direct responsibility to compel” Russia-backed separatist groups to cooperate with international investigators, he said.
Obama’s remarks came after Putin, in a video posted Monday on the Kremlin’s official website, said “everything should be done” to ensure a thorough and credible investigation but did not clarify how Russia would work to achieve that.
Obama said Moscow can ensure that international experts are able to conduct the “solemn and sacred work” of recovering the remains of the 298 people killed in the crash.
"Our friends and allies need to be able to recover those who were lost,” he said. "That's the least that decency demands."
U.S. officials believe the commercial airliner was downed by an antiaircraft missile system probably supplied to the separatists by Moscow. Putin on Monday placed the blame for the tragedy on the Ukrainian government.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
8:35 a.m.: This post was updated with President Obama's remarks.
This post was originally published at 8:18 a.m.