[guest post by Dana]
According to Fox News:
A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border, a day after a Ukrainian military jet was downed.
Of course, it’s way too soon to know much for sure, but according to Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, all 280 passengers and 15 crew members were killed.
The flight manifest is said to list the names of 23 Americans, however, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm, only saying “we don’t have any additional details at this point on American citizens” aboard the plane.
And not surprisingly, accusations and finger-pointing between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government:
Eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai told Reuters that Ukrainian military forces shot the jet down, but Kiev denied involvement and labeled the incident a “terrorist act.”
Update: The president responds:
“Before I begin, obviously 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. “Right now, we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board — that is our first priority — and I’ve directed my national-security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government.”
“The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why, and as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home,” he added, before resuming his speech on increased infrastructure spending.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The death toll stands at 298, as there were three infants on board. Almost enough to spoil your burger.
Update 2: I’m adding an obligatory video clip and summary of President Obama’s statement made this morning. I notice that he took the time to put on a suit and a wear a face of appropriate seriousness, unlike yesterday. Someone must have had a word with him.
President Obama called on Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian government to work with the international community in investigating the downed Malaysian Airlines flight 17. The president also revealed that at least one American citizen died in the disaster, and called all deaths “an outrage of unspeakable proportions.”
“This should snap everybody’s heads to attention,” he said from the White House briefing room on Friday. “We don’t have time for propaganda, we don’t have time for games, we need to know exactly what happened.”
The president called for an “immediate cease-fire” by Russian, Ukrainian, and separatist forces in the region to allow the investigation to take place.