What Are World Leaders Saying About MH17?

"Act of terrorism", "terrible tragedy", "unspeakable crime", these are some of the words leaders around the world have used to describe the downing of MH17. We look into how Prime Ministers and Presidents around the world are responding to the incident.

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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Has Been In Touch With The US, Ukraine And Russian President. While Explaining That Malaysia Has Sent A Team To Kiev, Najib Insists That The Perpetrators Must Be Brought To Justice.

Najib's response towards the MH17 incident.

Image via Najib Razak @ Facebook

Najib: "We will find out what happened to the plane. If it was indeed shot down, we will press for the culprit to be brought to book," he said at a brief press conference at Sama Sama Hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport. "The Ukraine government believes the plane was shot down. However, at this stage, Malaysia has yet to identify the cause of the tragedy."

If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice. Emergency operations centres have been established. In the last few hours, Malaysian officials have been in constant contact with their counterparts in Ukraine and elsewhere.

He also said world leaders, including the US president Barrack Obama, had called him regarding the tragedy. "Obama and I agreed that the investigation will not be hidden and the international teams have to be given access to the crash scene."

He said the Ukrainian president ‎has pledged that there would be a full, thorough and independent investigation and Malaysian officials would be invited to take part. "He also confirmed that his government will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site," said Najib. He also said that no one should remove any debris or the black box from the scene.

The Government of Malaysia is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as a medical team. But we must – and we will – find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone can be left unturned.

MH17 press conference

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Says The Shooting Was Not An Accident, But An Act Of Terrorism. He Has Denied Ukraine's Involvement In The Crash, And Has Called For An Internal Investigation.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism and called for an international investigation into the crash. He insisted that his forces did not shoot down the plane.

“We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” he said. “We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”

On The Other Hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin Is Blaming Ukraine For The Crash. However, Russia Has Also Asked Kiev For Permission To Send Emergency And Medical Teams To The Crash Site.

Vladimir Putin

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Mr Putin has blamed Ukraine for the crash, “Undoubtedly, the government in whose air space this happened bears responsibility for this terrible tragedy,” a Kremlin statement says. “This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy,” he said, according to the statement.

Russia asked Kiev on Thursday for permission to help with rescue work in eastern Ukraine after a Malaysian passenger airliner was brought down there, the Emergencies Ministry said.

"The Russian emergency services sent an official request to our Ukrainian colleagues to carry out joint work at the crash site of a Boeing (plane) on Ukrainian territory," Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told Russia's RIA news agency.

Russia's Health Ministry also offered its expertise in helping to identify the bodies of the 295 people killed, ministry spokesman Oleg Salagan told RIA. It was not clear whether Kiev had responded.

Furthermore, Putin Has Also Offered His Condolences To Najib And Has Spoke With Obama About The MH17 Crash

Najib and Putin.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered his condolences to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in regard to the Malaysian Airliner crash over the Ukrainian territory. Vladimir noted in his official website, that the crash led to numerous casualties. "The President of Russia asked the Prime Minister of Malaysia to convey his deepest sympathy and support to the victims’ families," the website added.

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin

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President Barack Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at the Kremlin’s request, a conversation in which they briefly discussed reports that a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying nearly 300 people had been reportedly shot down near the Ukrainian border.

The Kremlin also provided a readout on its website: “The Russian leader informed the U.S. president of the report from air traffic controllers that the Malaysian plane had crashed on Ukrainian territory, which had arrived immediately before the phone call.”

“Putin reiterated the need for the immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities by both parties in the south-east of Ukraine, [which] has led to numerous deaths and forced hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to seek refuge in Russia,” the Kremlin said in its readout, according to a Google translation. The Kremlin also noted Putin expressed “serious disappointment” over the U.S.’s decision to impose new sanctions on Russia.

US President Obama Called The Crash A "Terrible Tragedy" And Offered Any Assistance In A 40 Second Speech That Disappointed His Nation

Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama called the crash "a terrible tragedy" and said US officials were trying to establish if any Americans were on board. "The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia/Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy," he said, before going ahead with a previously scheduled event in Delaware.

Obama said his first priority was to determine whether there were any US citizens aboard the crashed jet. "I have directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government," Obama said.

"The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why." US Vice-President Joe Biden repeated Washington's offer during a phone call to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a US official said.

The British tabloid reported that Obama said in Wilmington, Delaware, that “it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy”, but not before enthusiastically declaring that “it is wonderful to be back in Delaware”. It also reported that the president also acknowledged the presence of treasury secretary Jack Lew with a joke. Obama’s approach enraged social media users, with many expressing their disappointment on Twitter. Former CNN host Piers Morgan tweeted: “President Obama massively dropped the ball just now. “23 Americans killed and he says ‘it looks like a terrible tragedy’ then back to jokes?”

At The Same Time, US Lawmakers Vow To Impose Tougher Sanctions Against Russia If The Kremlin Is Found To Have Caused The Disaster

John McCain

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Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) declared on Thursday that there would be “incredible repercussions” if Russian forces or pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine shot down the Malaysian flight that crashed earlier in the day.

“This was an airliner headed towards Russian airspace and it has the earmarks — and I’m not concluding — but it has the earmarks of a mistaken identification of an aircraft that they may have believed was Ukrainian. If that’s true, this is a horrible tragic event which was certainly unanticipated by anybody no matter who they are. And there will be incredible repercussions if this is the case,” he said.

“If it is the result of either separatist or Russian actions mistakenly believing that this is a Ukrainian warplane, I think there’s going to be hell to pay and there should be.” McCain called the pro-Russian separatists and the Russian government “really one and the same” and said both had the capability to shoot down the Malaysian flight.

Lindsay Graham

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the air disaster a “game changer.” “You would take the sanctions we’ve unilaterally imposed, toughen them, and have the world get behind them, and start arming the Ukrainian military,” he said.

Shocked by the apparent shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine, lawmakers said Thursday they were ready to toughen U.S. sanctions against Russia if evidence shows their intervention in the conflict played a role in the deadly attack.

The United Nations Will Hold An Emergency Meeting To Discuss The Crash While Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Calls For A Full International Investigation

Ban Ki Moon

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a full international investigation of the Malaysia Airlines disaster in east Ukraine. "There is clearly a need for a full, transparent and international investigation," Ban told reporters yesterday. He offered condolences to the victims' families.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the crash of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine. The urgent talks will begin at 10:00 am (1400 GMT), said the Rwandan chair of the 15-member council.

The European Union Also Called For An International Investigation, Demanding All Parties In The Region To Allow Investigators Full Access To The Crash

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton

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President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz stated: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic crash of the Malaysian airliner which led to the death of so many people. The circumstances which led to this crash must be thoroughly investigated and responsibility for this tragedy established. The European Union and its Member States must offer all the necessary expertise to Ukrainian and international authorities to complete the investigation.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called for an international investigation into the disaster. "Our thoughts are with all those with relatives on board," Ashton said in a statement. "The circumstances must be clarified without delay and an international investigation needs to shine a light on this tragedy," she added. "We call on all parties in the region to allow full access to the (crash) site."

Similarly, Germany Says An International Probe Must Commence Immediately And The Separatists Must Grant Emergency And Security Services Access To The Crash

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

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Germany also echoed calls for "an independent international probe". "We expect everything to be done to shed light on this disaster as quickly as possible," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

"I'm horrified by the news from eastern Ukraine. With hundreds of completely innocent people having died in this terrible way, words fail you," he said. Asked at a media briefing in Mexico City whether Germany was of the same view as the Ukrainian government on the reasons for the crash, Steinmeier said he could not add anything to the statement. "I have no information," he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier yesterday called for an independent, international investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. "The separatists must immediately grant emergency and security services access to the crash site and an independent, international investigation must commence immediately."

In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron's First Priority Is To Find Out If Any Britons Were Onboard The Boeing 777

British Prime Minister David Cameron

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British media have reported that between five and 10 British citizens were on board MH17. "We are not talking about numbers. Our priority is to find out if Britons involved," a spokesman for the Foreign Office told AFP.

Writing on Twitter, Cameron said: "I'm shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster." He added that government officials were meeting "to establish the facts".

The Dutch Prime Minister Is Shocked And Has Cancelled His Holiday To Monitor And Handle The Situation

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gives a short statement to the press at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam on July 17, 2014 regarding the Malaysia Airlines plane traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed in the Ukraine.

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Prime Minister Rutte, of conservative party VVD, went on to say that he is abandoning his holiday and returning to the Netherlands after speaking with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. “I am deeply shocked by the tragic news about the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur via Ukrainian territory,” he said. “Very much is still unclear about the facts, the circumstances and the passengers.” He went on to say that he intends “to monitor and to handle the situation. Our thoughts go out to the passengers, their families and friends.”

Holland's Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten

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Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten (VVD) echoed the prime minister’s statements, saying, “I am aware that this investigation cannot go fast enough, but everyone at this time is doing everything possible to inform family and friends.” Holland's Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said "there were several Dutch onboard", adding he was "deeply shocked" by the "horrible" images coming from the crash site.

French President Francois Hollande Offered All His Solidarity With Relatives Of The Crash Victims

French President Francois Hollande

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French President Francois Hollande offered "all my solidarity" with relatives of the crash victims, and echoed Ashton's call for a wide-ranging investigation. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said there were "at least" four French people onboard the doomed airliner.

Calling It An "Unspeakable Crime", Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Wants The Perpetrators To Be Swiftly Brought To Justice

Tony Abbott

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that if the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine was a deliberate act, then "it is an unspeakable crime" and the perpetrators must be swiftly brought to justice. "It is a very, very sad time, made worse by reports that it might be a crime rather than an accident," Abbott said.

"If it does turn out that this aircraft was brought down by a surface to air missile, there is no doubt that this would be, under those circumstances, an unspeakable crime and the perpetrators should swiftly be brought to justice," Abbott said.

"But obviously, it is the clear and settled decision of the Australian government that larger countries should not bully smaller ones, that countries should not aid people who are in rebellion against their own government and that international disputes should be settled peacefully in accordance with international law."

The Downing Of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 That Was Carrying 283 Passengers From At Least 8 Countries Has Shocked The World

The Star

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The Herald

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The Financial Times US edition

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The Independent

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The Daily Mirror

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The Sun

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The Guardian

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The Daily Mail

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The Times of London

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