Missile Took Down Jet in Ukraine but Unclear Who Launched Strike
WASHINGTON (AP/WGGB) — A U.S. official says American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile took down a passenger jet carrying 298 people in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, but the Obama administration is still scrambling to confirm who launched the strike and whether there were American citizens killed in the crash.
Vice President Joe Biden says the incident was “not an accident,” describing the Malaysia Airlines plane as having been “blown out of the sky.”
Among the unanswered questions is whether the missile was launched from the Russian or Ukrainian side of the border they share. The official says U.S. intelligence assessments suggest it is more likely that pro-Russian separatists or Russians shot down the plane than Ukrainian forces.
The U.S. has sophisticated technologies that can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from a rocket engine.
In a press release by Malaysian Airlines, there was no mention of any U.S. citizens on board, however there are 41 passengers listed as “unverified” when it comes to nationality. So far, a total of 154 passengers from the Netherlands have been verified, along with 43 from Malaysia, including 15 from the crew and two infants.