tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 19, 2014 12:00am-2:01am EDT
sovereignty isn't something that exists apart from the inherent responsibility of the people seeking overpbity to act responsibly. so to be able to take responsibility for your actions and vision such as may exist. visionary was more than perhaps some folks have given him credit for. it requires capacity. the frustration we had often in our conversations was, mr. president, i absolutely do not disagree with you in regard to your ambitions. beorder for you to sovereign, you have to take responsibility for the actions of the judiciary or finance elementsor actions of within the ministry of interior.
you cannot do that unless you have capacity. that is what we are trying to partner to do. if you do not like your capacity, he frequently told us. we worked very hard to lower civilian casualties and were very successful. ultimatelyy hard at getting after the business of war profiteering and corruption associated and created the combined joined interagency task we brought is where all of the elements and contracting and spending elements and finance elements and brought them all together to where it should have been from the very beginning. properly organized, that is the first reflection. wewe were to do it again, would have to be properly organize in understanding organize criminality into the environment in which we are going to operate and understand
clearly and it being organize ourselves once we understand it and see it to ensure we do not contribute or do not exacerbate it in the course of natural development capacity building and reconstruction that would have to occur. i am afraid we did and we came to the conclusion, far too late in the process that we needed to be organized in a task force about corruption and the denial of funds to the enemies in a matter. moving into the lead. what was going to win the war was less about defending the taliban that eliminating the excess which is still corruption. and so, he was right. we probably should have organized in that very concentrated manner much earlier in the process. we also did not, i think, in some respects, he could've
helped us more, the did not see the interview truly for what the enemy was. the enemy was not just taliban. it was a collective threat of for whom criminality, the taliban worked. organized criminality, the taliban elements and ideological by the narcueled topics enterprise. we went to war in afghanistan. to go after the insurgency. not well organized in a law enforcement since to have the afghans hold in the context of judiciary the criminal, the criminality and i had no authority to go after the drug lords and drug enterprise. if we had had that consolidated from the beginning, we could have been striking at those three legs of the enemy trying go from the very beginning. -- triangele from the very
beginning. subnational governments, it was ofissue again with the rent toul needed to be extended the people on the ground. it goes to the unwillingness of thepresident to embrace really vital role of being commander in chief. tubing though moral figurehead withhold his leaders who were shedding their blood needed to be oriented as a moral compass. a number of those corps wo-stars, wet spent most of my time with them tar they could be two-s general in any army and i would welcome them. they were in the front line. they took risks. , we areservation was
fighting and dying in large numbers to clear up the criminality of the taliban and and when the people finally can lift their heads up and ultimately seek a better life, there is no presence of the government. we had this conversation a number of times where i even suggested that your army, not mine, have cleared large areas of substantial population numbers. let's take those areas and seek to insert into those areas your elements of government at the district or provincial level which represents your insertion of the presence of governance from kabul onto the ground to give these people a sense that kabul is in their lives stop how often is this minister down in come the harder -- kandahar?
not very often. of -- the word blame is not right. either not something country has done on a regular basis of but i will tell you now, the things i believe we have learned about spending and contracting and countering corruption, what would've learned about capacity building and inherent formula is if you want to be sovereign, you have to be willing to take responsibility. you cannot unless you have the capacity and that has to be driving our thinking for how we prepare a country to a developed society. you cannot get there unless you have capacity and can't take responsibility and truly be sovereign. >> thank you very much. we have microphones on both sides. we will start over there with
you. then, say who you are. keep it succint. >> thanks. -- usit. udiy quite a balanced. one question is do you feel that president karzai eve all during the 13 years -- eve off -- all evolved during the 13 years and has he evoloved during the recet period? misreadew, he totally the u.s. in the u.s. does not a may 27 aion, is was an option in 2016. it will be very hard to reverse. 27 -- the may 27 was
an option in 2016. agree there and i is plenty of responsibility to go around. the second biggest scandal, does not involve money, it was afghan's own money stolen. there needs to be a perspective especially on his side, more could have been done. related to the issue of sovereignty and it came up very well from the general, why he did not build sovereignty and the government administration, that is an aspect of sovereignty which is obvious. what does a sovereign government do? he paid anyt attention to mobilizing more revenue for the government or the budget.
andit is the armed forces, that has been said. what is his use of sovereignty, an empty term of respect for him personally? we know what sovereignty means. it already came up. what does it mean when he asked for sovereignty? is it more than present respect? >> three easy questions. [laughter] a --u all want to take anybody want to volunteer? any of them? >> a brief remark on whether he evolve or not. i see he involved toward consensus politics. if you ask him now and i think voa did in their interview and his recent interviews about some of the choices he made,
especially about market economy, he said if he could go back, he would never agree to it. his trajectory of thinking, it eve off -- evolved and the issue of corruption as well. , youirst five or six years did not have the capacity to go after corrupt leaders. now you have the government. you have every time there's a case of corruption raised, it is dealt with politically rather than through the rule of law. volved towarde consensus politics and supporting his own institutions. to me and i told you it was justified you would do consists politics. 2009, he was the most
powerful man in the country. he could've build institutions and left strong institutions. one way to do that is to go after corruption of the elite and deal with them. he continued to through with political consists. -- consensus. objectiont have any to what you are saying. there is no doubt it has been a toleration of corruption. it is unacceptable. can i add to that, one thing? goorder to systematically after corruption, you need a functioning rule of law. it is about the most important thing to do. you can build an army and even a police. but to build a wall of law
system, it is tremendously difficult. think we never really got to that. the u.s. had programs. [indiscernible] we never really got into it. during visit division, responsibilities had the judiciary, not much was done. then, and that kind of crime.ment of organized who dares to go after? i will give you one example from europe. there's a place called thing vote -- kosovo. % of the size of afghanistan and everybody can't read and write.
-- can read and write. they never dared to go after corruption for fear of revenge. there was never any witnesses to stand up. phenomenonn uncommon when it comes to sovereignty. is it more than karzai himself? respect for the country and building of institutions and i do come back, i do not think we have taken institution building seriously. we have spent a lot of money. that as youent of know better than i do, says it has not worked. it has become an obstacle to building an institution. finally in 2008, we managed to get in place and institute.
it will bring out of thousands of people who could go, but what happens? they do not want to finance i t. they do finance a young, country, that they given this contract from the same country. finance with foreigners to be in the ministry. $22,000 perearns month. for doing what? writing reports. not capacity building. what has been our expectation? [indiscernible] yes, we have build institutions much stronger than before but they could've been much stronger.
one other example. imagine, march 2009 in kabul, i got a message from richard barton. the assistant secretary of state for the region. , you will bee asked to chair. nobody warned me for that. karzai gets to know more. and in the associated press carries the story from brussels. it would be a big conference. [indiscernible] i was puzzled. i called the foreign minister.
said, why didn't you tell me about the conference? he said, what are you talking about? president andthe the president called and asked what conference? the conference about his country. debate should be -- [indiscernible] was he wrong or was he informed afterwards? he was informed afterwards about a massive increase in forces on his territory. that is was sovereignty is about. decision-making. not only vanity of one individual. >> very well put. >> one point on capacity building. ofhink the overall absence
-- it will not happen but the absence of of a coordinating tried verythe u.n. hard and others, the absence of an authority to bring the international efforts really created a great difficulty. built ina lot that was afghanistan with no tail to it or logistics tail. and the not so distant future, it will require maintenance of these buildings and infrastructure facilities that afghanistan cannot afford and a does not have the money. i had a sense of this in the period of time and the insider attacks where i sadly had a couple of my officers killed in the ministry of interior. i pulled all of my people out of
the ministries and i took them out until such time until we had a better feel for how bad this was going on and how far it might dissented. what i did not realize because i never gone from office to office, just how many -- howtional presences much of an international presence was in the building until they came running out when we pulled the troops out. they had nothing to do with isep. there were individual contributions. consequently, sometimes as the ambassador said, it works against us. we had a country artist only trying to do the very best it could and investing people and money in and out, that i said may have been working and another element within the u.n. or within nato.
we work against each other. frequently, we were not building the kind of capacity we wanted to and that is what the president hold on -- honed on. you can point to individual moments of brightness and capabilities that emerged. veryis what he pointed to frequently when he was frustrated with the international community. >> thank you very much. also the panel for the inside. for ambassadoron , about karzai being the consensus builder. what he said on the less of two weeks ago, and establishment of a parallel government and it took the u.s. intervention and john kerry's presence. do you think karzai
had the ability and power to avert that crisis? you said that karzai thinks democracy and accept democracy and women's rights and political of his principles while at the same time, the president has kept the first lady hidden from the eyes of the world. willu think he fears it ignite the same protest and reaction from the tribal leaders in the conservative sections of the society? -- the besty -- i solution would have been if afghanistan -- [indiscernible]
in 2009, karzai said i want to modernize the election of process. without the interference. now, that did not work. everybody believes the visit by john kerry, i admire and respect that he went there. me down and came to what for is the only obvious solution to the counting. if you disagree, count it all. hands on diplomacy and , it is admirable but it is sometimes criticized.
all when he came and we had a problem with the when he came 2009, and we had a problem with the second run. he spent a few days with him. afterwards, karzai said, john american politician i trust the most. answer, i have have answered your question but avoided the other. [laughter] >> i think the question of the first lady is -- it intrigues me for a long time also. her sort of absence in the public sphere. to 2002, there are some interviews of her with the media. which shows that at least back
then, president karzai was not against her speaking out or being publicly seens. she had said she wanted to be sane and health care for women and education. what i know from her involvement now is that she doesn't meet people. she does meet people. she is not publicly involved. it is unfortunate. i think she's a very well educated woman. she is a medical doctor. one thing afghanistan has lacked in female role models after a on women int 2002,y, especially after the morale was very low for women to get back involved in the public sphere. she could have been a great role model for her education. it is unfortunate it has not happened. answer, have a clear
but i agree with you it is probably being sensitive to the tribal realities and is sensitive to history. in the early part of the 20th century, he -- we had a role as that involved their wives and it did not go so well. that was one of the reasons why the coup was against them. social coups. ands sensitive to that because he is a tribal person or wools in tribal manner -- rules in tribal manner, it plays in her absence. what intrigues me is how she was once involved and is not a but i do not have an answer to that. -- how she was once involved but is not but i do not have an
answer to that. >> i have a couple of questions. general, you are a real american hero. in there is enormous respect afghanistan for you. even president karzai has a lot of respect for you and he to me personally you were the one who fixed the broken relations between afghanistan and the united states. you creditstan gives for created the civilian casualties. the question i would have for afghan is really bothered by the daily shelling pakistani forces. -- a providence and that is happening under the watch of the nato, more than
100,000 soldiers are being there. i want to know your perspective. and i'm sure you have had meetings with your counterpart in pakistan. know the terrorists and clinton al qaeda and isis and taliban, seven shelling the american embassy -- they have been shelling the american embassy. how come eu as an american superpower is not able to tell pakistan to slow down? for the ambassador of pakistan, everybody loves your book. i was told in 2009 it was not eide, itf ambassador was because of your assistant, and holbrook.
could you tell us a little bit about that? what was going on in the background and in the context of today and and not the 2009? it was just you and your assistant. course, you were the one trying to bring peace. was able to manage before 2009. setven call him a hero will the best president -- hero. -- the best president and then he became a zero. i askedon he told me, him, what happened? he said because i do not get respect from this administration and it comes back to sovereignty. i took a group to karzai and was so impressed, he said those
americans are such a nice people. he said they do not behave like google and youtube. [laughter] >> the border with pakistan is a very difficult piece of terrain. the federallyf administered tribal areas or profits is on the eastern side of that frontier is very difficult. i am going to say something about the border shelling and i want to be very, very clear about what i am going to say because i do not want to appear to be diminishing the importance of dealing with it. i know my success for as bit -- successor has been a great deal of time working in an attempt to
deal with this. part of the shelling was a reality and some of it was not. there were reports of thousands of rockets and artillery rounds, creating a real panic in kabul. i got one ofint, my helicopters and the minister of defense and interior and director general and one of the leading members of the parliament got on the bird and we flew where we met with the border troops and we flew over the villages that have been so badly shelled according to reporting. and found there was no shelling at all. there was no shelling at all in these villages. animals.s or dead
it did not mean there was not shelling. we had to understand the problem. that was my point back to kabul and the security forces and back to the legislature. make sure we clearly understood the problem. what we was doing was creating a crisis for ourselves. the border trace, if you do not know it, follows 4 different border traces. you have a one which i never oftioned in public for fear the response it would get. you had the border trace that pakistan recognizes and the one afghanistan recognizes and then the soviet. none of those are the same. they all go back and forth. consequently, pakistan, no excuses being made for pakistan, consequently, they freely shell
were and the rounds landing on afghans. the afghans could argue it included them. we worked very hard with both te measures by which pakistanis saw tpp elements across the border, we could work in close conjunction with afghan forces and go up and get after some of these. d reporting and intelligence on both sides made it much more difficult and really tough terrain to be able to solve this problem. many respects a while that was a major issue before and is still an issue of a single round, it is a serious issue. i believe much has been done to solve that. to the point of cross-border movement of terrorists and insurgent elements, we worked
very hard with pakistan to create an environment by which we could get pakistan to take action primarily against the hakanis, we can solve a lot of the problems that eastern provinces to include u.n. -- kabul. , the a very sad moment 24th and 25th of november and 2011, i spent the better day with the general working out the way in which we will cooperate across the border. he would drive them across the border along with afghan presence and deal with them as they came across. i woke up the next morning to find out that 24 troops had been killed overnight on one of my special operations. that broke the russia with pakistan and they close the line of communication -- they broke
the relationship with pakistan and they closed the line of communication. they had bigger issues to deal with the taliban. while we have had excellent partnership across the border in 2010, that partnership ended and it did not pick up -- and actually has not up. we cannot get pakistan to attack the insurgent elements on the eastern side of the frontier that we really need for them to go after. ran, i do not spend a lot of time talking about it, we ran a very concentrated operation called knife's edge. we committed a large number of operations.
they really proved themselves to be quite good as troops and he gave mrs. we could accelerate. impressionave me the we could accelerate. it is a major security issue that will have to be resolved. my concern is the comment we had a zero option that is playing of 2016.e end the next president will have to take a real clear-eyed, realistic look of what the american policy in respect to our advisors and the amount of time we will stay in the country and consider if he needs to speak directly to the president of the united states about changing the policy given the realities in pakistan. i would applaud their president to undertake that very measure.
>> in a 30 seconds, what happened in 2009? because president obama decided to discontinue the conferences. writes in his book, i made a point to keep in touch with him and not teaching but advising. was to treat him as a leader. that was the right approach. it was an acrimonious debate. -- [indiscernible] slightly troubled relationship. we met at the u.s. ambassador's residence.
the first question holbrook asked me was, when does your contract expire? [laughter] for started the hunt somebody running against karzai. it was over. karzai called me up to the palace and we talked about the meeting. i cannot really remember who said,t, but one of us holbrook is after both of us. [laughter] that was the feeling that was there from the very beginning. that suspicion became stronger and stronger. for out the election process unfortunately. i had established quite a good relationship with karzai because
[indiscernible] when he was going to choose his vice president, he asked me to come up to the office. [indiscernible] in -- to bring i said it lets me think about this on till tomorrow. i came back and we had six meetings. i did not succeed obviously. what did he want to bring him back? he can see the turnout would be low and he needed alliances to win the election. very simple. turn of more reliance on that. that was 2009.
when he came to the real crunch towards the end, we work very closely. ky, there is something called the constitution and their institutions created and we must allow them to do their work as we must try to assist them to make sure they do their work properly. that had to be there. criticismf all of the they came from some, john kerry period. i remember this second day kerry was there, i saw the president before. can we go. president,
down to your small office downstairs instead of sitting and visiting office because you never know what is being listened to? we went to downstairs. it was a very emotional meeting. i said, if you do not accept a second round, i will resign. because if the president does not follow the constitution, there is no role for me. was a meeting that i thought would last 10 minutes but it lasted 45 minutes. there is a sudden kind of youstry -- intimacy when can talk about these kind of things. kerry came back. he said he will go for a second round. the president continued for a
second term. you said he had all the opportunity during his second round. i do not think president karzai suffered due to the fact he had this 50%. he never hidden that mark. handle he did not quite legitimacy that the constitution required from a president. and he blamed that on the obama administration. >> could i add a little bit to it? the legitimacy question is interesting. we had a conversation. i think in terms of public haveption, one thing i noticed is that karzai was not challenged for his legitimacy. the opposition has done a very easily. any of the opposition politicians put up. we would throw that out there
publicly he did not get challenge for the past five years. it was a personal payment to him i'm absolutely. in the public perception, he was not challenged. -- it was a personal payment to him, absolutely. >> it brings us to our end. the discussion even though i live through some of it and seen others, it is fascinating and revealing so i want to thank our three panels and all of you for coming and your questions. maybe this will not be the last time we host this kind of discussion. for the first draft, it was extremely good. thank you. [applause] >> it is not known who will but allpresident karzai of the 8 million votes are being examined for legitimacy. u.s. officials said the audit
will began. 23,000 ballot boxes have to be examined. >> remarks on the downing all malaysian flight 17. we will hear from president obama and the united nations security council including u.s. ambassador samantha powers as in a pentagon briefing. >> own newsmakers, incoming republican chair will discuss what to expect from the rnc. interaction with the republican conference, and issues of the day. kers" on sunday at 2:00 a.m. >> president obama said at the ukraine.on its away to
president is calling for an immediate cease-fire in the area and said the evidence so far indicates that malaysia airlines aight 17 was shot down from missile. he spoke about the current palestinian conflict. he also took questions. this is about 20 minutes. >> good morning, everybody. yesterday, malaysian airlines flight mh 17 took off from amsterdam. and was shot down over the ukraine-russian border. nearly 300 innocent lives were taken, men, women, children,
infants, who had nothing to do with the crisis in ukraine. their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions. we know at least one american citizen, quinn lucas schansman, was killed. our thoughts and prayers are with his family. yesterday, i spoke with ukraine, malaysia, and the netherlands, and i told them that our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families and that the american people stand together with them in this difficult time. later today, i will be speaking with prime minister abbot of australia, which also suffered a terrible loss. by far, the country that lost the most people on board the plane was the netherlands. from the days of our founding, the dutch have been close friends and allies. i want the dutch people to know that we stand with you shoulder to shoulder in our grief and in our absolute determination to
get to the bottom of what happened. here is what we know so far. evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched from an area that is controlled by russian backed separatists inside of ukraine. we also know that this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern ukraine. over the last several weeks, russian backed separatist have shot down a ukrainian transport plane and a ukrainian helicopter, and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a ukrainian fighter jet. moreover, we know that the separatists have received a steady flow of support from russia. this includes arms and training. it includes heavy weapons. and it includes antiaircraft weapons. here is what must happen now. this was a global tragedy. an asian airliner was destroyed
in european skies filled with citizens from many countries. there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened. the un security council has endorsed this investigation and we will hold all its members, including russia, to their word in order to facilitate that investigation. russia, pro-russian separatist, and ukraine must adhere to an immediate cease-fire. evidence must not be tampered with. investigators need to access the crash site and returning what was lost to their loved ones must go forward immediately. we have already offered the support of the fbi and the national transportation safety board, which has experience with working with international partners on these types of investigations, they are on their way, personnel from the
fbi and the ntsb. i will be in close contact with leaders around the world as we respond to this catastrophe. our immediate focus will be on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts. i want to point out there will likely be misinformation as well. i think it is very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is simply speculation. no one can deny the truth in the awful images that we've seen. the eyes of the world are on eastern ukraine. we will make sure the truth is out. more broadly, i think it is important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscores that it is time for peace and security to be restored in ukraine.
for months, we have supported a pathway to peace and the ukrainian government has reached out to all ukrainians, put forward a peace plan, and we have done a cease-fire despite -- lived up to a cease-fire despite the violations by separatists, violations that took the lives of ukrainian soldiers and personnel. moreover, time and again, russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation. i spoke to president putin yesterday in the wake of additional sanctions that we had imposed. he said he was not happy with them, and i told him that we have been very clear from the outset that we want russia to take the path that would result in peace in ukraine, but so far at least, russia has failed to take that path. instead, it has continued to violate ukrainian sovereignty, and to support violent separatists. it has also failed to force the
separatists to abide by a cease-fire. that is why we have imposed more sanctions on russia. it is time for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what happened. violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences. russia, the separatists, and ukraine all have the capacity to put an end to the fighting. meanwhile, the u.s. is going to continue to lead efforts within the world community to de-escalate the situation, to stand up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of ukraine, and to support the people of ukraine as they courageously worked to strengthen their democracy and make their own decisions about how they should move forward. before i take just a couple of questions, let me remark on one other issue. this morning, i spoke with prime minister netanyahu about the situation in israel and gaza. we discussed israel's military
operation, including efforts to stop military operations, including tunnels into israel. i reaffirmed my strong support for israel's right to defend itself. no nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders, or terrorists settling into its territory. in fact, while i was having a conversation with mr. netanyahu, the sirens went off in tel aviv. i also made clear that the united states and our friends and allies are deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life. that is why we have indicated them although we support military efforts by the israelis to make sure that rockets are not being fired into their territory, we have also said that our understanding of current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels. we are hopeful that is where israel will continue to approach
this process, in a way that minimizes civilian casualties. and all of us are working hard to return to the cease-fire that was reached in november of 2012. secretary kerry supports that. john is prepared to travel the region following additional consultations. let me close by making one additional comment. on board the flight there were nearly 100 researchers and advocates traveling to a conference in australia to a conference dedicated to combating aids and hiv. these are men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence. in this world today, we should not forget in the midst of conflict and killing, there are
people like these, people focused on what can be built rather than destroyed. people who define themselves not by what makes them different, but by the humanity that we hold in common. it is important to lift them up and to affirm their lives, and heed their example. the united states of america will continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose, determine their own destiny, and the international community stands on the side of truth. let me take a couple of questions. >> on a technical matter, does the u.s. believe this passenger jet was targeted or the people shot it down might have been going after a military aircraft,
and more broadly, the incident seems to escalate the crisis in the ukraine to a level we have not seen before. does that change your calculus in terms of what europe -- in terms of what the u.s. is asking europe to be doing? >> i think it is too early to be able to guess what the intentions of those that might have launched the missile might have had. i think we will see additional information surfacing over the next 24 hours, the next week, the next month. what we know right now, what we have confidence in saying right now, is that a surface-to-air missile was fired and that is what brought the jet down. we know, or have confidence in saying that shot was taken within a territory controlled by the russian separatists. but i think it is very important
for us to make sure that we do not get out ahead of the facts, and at this point, in terms of identifying specifically what individual or group of individuals or personnel ordered the strike, how would came about -- those are things that will be subject to additional information that we will be gathering, and we are working with the entire international community to make sure the focus is on getting to the bottom of this thing and being truthful. my concern is, obviously, that there has been a lot of misinformation generated in eastern ukraine generally. this should snap everybody's heads to attention, and make sure we do not have time for propaganda, games. we need to know exactly what happened, and everyone is to -- needs to make sure we are holding accountable those who committed this outrage. with respect to the second
question, as you are aware, before this terrible incident happened, we had already ratcheted up sanctions against russia, and, i think, the concern, not just of russian officials, but of the markets, about the impact this could have on the russian economy is there for all to see. i made clear to president putin that our preferred path is to resolve this diplomatically, but that means that he and the russian government had to make a strategic decision. are they going to continue to support violent separatists whose intent is to undermine the government of ukraine, or are they prepared to work with government of ukraine -- the government of ukraine to arrive at a cease-fire and a peace that takes to account the interest of all ukrainians? there has been some improved language at times over the last
month coming from the kremlin and coming from president putin, but we have not seen an actual transition and different action that would give us confidence that that is the direction that they want to take. we will continue to make clear that as russia, you know, engages in actions that are supporting the separatists, that we have the capacity to increase the costs that we impose on them, and we will do so, not because we are interested in hurting russia for the sake of hurting russia, but he does we believe in standing up for the basic principle that a country sovereignty and territorial integrity needs to be respected. it is not the united states, or russia, or germany, or any other country that should be deciding
what happens in that country. >> at this point, do you see any u.s. military role that could be effective? >> we do not see a u.s. military role beyond what we have already been doing in working with our nato partners and some of the baltic states, giving them reassurances that we are prepared to do whatever is required to meet our alliance obligations. >> how much blame for this do you put on president putin and do you view this incident as a push to stronger action for europe? >> we do not know what happened yet, and as i said before, i do not want to get out ahead of the facts. but what i do know is we have seen a ticking up of violence in eastern ukraine, that despite the efforts of the ukrainian government to abide by a cease-fire, and to reach out and agree to negotiations, including
with the separatists, that has been rebuffed by the separatists. we know they are heavily armed and they are trained, and that is not an accident. that is happening because of russian support. it is not possible for the separatists to function the way they function, to have the equipment that they have, set aside what has happened with respect to the malaysian airline -- a group of separatists can not shoot down military planes, or as they claim, fighter jets, without sophisticated equipment and training, and that is coming from russia. so, we do not yet know exactly what happened despite to the malaysian airline, but obviously we are drawing some conclusions
given the nature of the shot that was fired. there are only certain types of antiaircraft missiles that can reach up 30,000 feet and shoot down passenger jets. we have increasing confidence that it came from areas controlled by the separatists, but without having a definitive judgment on those issues yet, what we do know is that the violence that is taking place there is facilitated, in part, in large part, because of russian support. they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction. if mr. putin makes the decision that we are not going to allow heavy armaments and the flow of fighters into ukraine across the ukrainian-russian border, then it will stop.
if it stops, then the separatists will still have the capacity to enter into negotiations and try to arrive at the sort of political accommodations and mr. putin himself says he wants to see -- that mr. putin himself says he wants to see. he has the most control over that situation. so far, he has an exercise that. >> and distinctions -- >> i think there certainly will be a wake up call for europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern ukraine. it will not be localized or sustained. is justhave seen here in one country alone, our great allies, the dutch, 150 or more
of their citizens being killed. that i think sadly brings home the degree to which the state's are higher for europe and not simply for the ukrainian people. have to be firm in our resolve and making sure that we are supporting the ukrainians effort cease-fireout a just and move toward a political solution to this. i'll make this one the last question. from bloomberg. prevento you [indiscernible] we have an pretty methodical over the last 24 hours. we are working through this -- flight manifest. we have been identifying which
passengers might have had eight u.s. passport. at this point, the individual solei mentioned is the person be could save was a u.s. or dual citizen. because events are moving saykly, i don't want to with absolute certainty that there might not be additional americans, but at this stage having worked through the list and been in contact with the malaysian government the process the passports as folks were boarding, this is our best assessment of the number of americans that were killed. obviously, that does nothing to all ofour outrage about those families regardless of nationality. it is heartbreaking. with respect to sanctions on the
economy, we have consistently tried to sailor these sanctions in a way that would have an impact on russia, the economy, their institutions, or individuals that are aiding and abetting and activities that are taking place in eastern ukraine, all minimizing the effects on the global economy. it is a relevant consideration that we have to keep in mind in the world economy is integrated. russia is a larger comment. of financialt flows train russia and the rest of the world. we feel confident at this point distinctions we have put in place that the overall impact on the global economy is minimal. pays something we have to close attention to. i think that treasury in
consultation with our european partners have done a good job so far. all right? thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] council.n. security held an emergency meeting to discuss the airliner that was shot down in ukraine. ,he u.s. ambassador to the u.n. samantha power, said their separatist in the area who boast about shooting down the plane. the russian ambassador to the u.n. blame the u.s. for escalating tension in ukraine here at they said ukraine should have alerted the aviation of malaysianers and ukrainian representatives. his portion is about 40 minutes.
-- this portion is about 40 minutes. >> thank you, mr. president. theerday we were shocked by downing of polish airlines flight 17. malaysia airlines flight 17. as we steer the passenger list, we sought next to the passenger names the capital i that stands for infant. to the family and friends of the victims, it is impossible to find words to express our condolences. we can only commit to you that we will not rest until we find out what happened. and unimpededble international investigation must begin immediately.
the perpetrators must be brought to justice. beon us -- and they must not sheltered by any member state of the united nations. let me share with you our assessment of the evidence so far. we assessed malaysia airlines flight 17 carrying these 298 people from amsterdam to kuala lumpur was likely downed by a surface to air missile, sa-11, from a separate test location in eastern ukraine. -- separatist location in eastern ukraine. the airliner was traveling at 33,000 feet and its speed was typical. the flight was transmitting its assigned transponder code corresponding with its flight plan and flight tracking data was publicly available on the internet. there was nothing threatening or provocative about mh-17.
of the operational systems located near the border, only the sa-11, sa-20, and sa-22 systems are capable of hitting an aircraft at this flight's altitude of 33,000 feet. we can rule out shorter range systems which are not capable of hitting an aircraft at this altitude. early thursday, and sa-11 system was reported by a western reporter and separatists were spotted hours before the incident with an sa-11 system at a location close to the site where the plane came down. separatists initially claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane and posted videos that are now being connected to the malaysian airlines crash. separatist leaders boasted on social media about shooting down
a plane, but later deleted these messages. because of the technical complexity of the sa-11, it is unlikely the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. we cannot roll -- rule out technical assistance from russian personnel. the ukrainians do have sa-11 systems in their inventory. however, we are not aware of any ukrainian systems in the area of the shootdown, and since the beginning of this crisis, ukrainian air defenses have not fired a single missile despite several alleged violations of their airspace by russian aircraft. this also follows a pattern of actions by russian backed separatists. on june 13, separatists shot down the ukrainian transport plane carrying 40 para troopers and nine crew. on june 24, we received word the separatists down to the ukrainian helicopter, killing all nine on board.
on july 14, separatists claimed credit for the downing of the ukrainian military cargo planes. on july 16, they claimed credit for the downing of a ukrainian fighter jet. if indeed russian backed separatists were behind this attack on a civilian airliner, they and their backers would have good reason to cover up evidence of their crime. thus, it is extremely important that investigation be commenced immediately. in the first instance, the osce special monitoring mission should act as the first responder laying the foundation for efforts by other international organizations and individual nations, including those citizens who are victims of this tragedy. yesterday president obama assured the president of assistance. the president has invited the independent and credible international civil aviation organization to join in the investigation.
international investigators must be granted immediate, full, and unfettered access to the crash site. all those concerned should agree to support an immediate cease-fire to facilitate access by international investigators. in this regard, we look to the snm to reach agreement with separatists and others in the region to make this possible. all evidence must remain undisturbed and any evidence removed from the site by the russian backed separatists should be promptly returned and handed over. russia needs to help make this happen. while it may take us some time to firmly establish who shot down a plane filled with innocence, most council members and members of the international community have been warning for months about the devastation that would come if russia did
not stop what it started, if it did not rain in what it unleashed. - rein in what it unleashed. the context is clear. russia says it seeks peace in ukraine. but we have repeatedly provided this counselor with evidence of russia's continued support to the separatists. time after time we have called on the russian government to de-escalate the situation by stopping the flow of fighters and weapons into ukraine, pressing separatists to agree to a cease-fire and release all hostages and support a roadmap for negotiations. time after time president putin has committed towards working towards peace. in berlin earlier this month -- every single time he has broken that commitment. here is what we know. in the last few weeks, russia has increased the number of tanks, armored vehicles and rocket launchers in south west russia. more air defense systems have
also arrived. moscow has recently transformed tanks and artillery to the separatists and several military vehicles cross the border. after recapturing several ukrainian cities last weekend, ukrainian officials discovered weapons long associated with russian stockpiles, including mines, grenades, vehicles, and a pontoon bridge. ukrainian forces have discovered large amounts of other russian provided military equipment, including accompanying documentation verifying the russian origin in the areas they have liberated from separatists in recent days. recruiting efforts for separatist fighters are expanding inside russia and separatists have openly said they are looking for volunteers
with experience operating heavy weapons such as tanks and air defenses. russia has allowed officials from the people's republic to establish a recruiting office in moscow. ukrainian pilot who has long had a distinguished career in the ukrainian military was taken by separatists in mid-june. she is now being held in a prison in russia. according to the ukrainian government, she was transferred to russia by separatists. russia continues to redeploying new forces extremely close to the ukrainian border. this past monday, a ukrainian air force cargo plane was shot down in ukrainian airspace and on wednesday, a ukrainian fighter jet was also shot down in ukrainian airspace great in both instances, the ukrainian government believes these lanes were fired on from russian territory. it is because of russian actions that the united states impose sanction on the defense, energy, and financial sectors of the russian economy. these measures include freezing the assets of russian defense companies and blocking new financing of some of russia's most important banks and energy
companies. the sanctions are significant, but they are also targeted, designed to had the maximum impact on the russian calculus while limiting the impact on the russian people and limiting any spillover effects on our interests or those of our allies. the european union has announced expanded sanctions against russia this week. the message is unified and clear. if president putin continues to choose escalation over de-escalation, the international community will continue to impose costs on russia. this is not what any of us want. we and our allies remain committed to a diplomatic solution, as are the ukrainian government and ukrainian people, who has seen their neighbors, friends and family members killed in a needless conflict. president porchenko has consistently backed up his words with action. he proposed a comprehensive peace plan, which was cynically rejected by the illegal armed groups and their backers in moscow. his plan offered amnesty to
separatists who laid down their arms fallen terribly and who were not guilty of capital crimes -- voluntarily and who were not guilty of capital crimes. he established a job creation program for the affected areas, including ed -- an offer of broad decentralization, and granted increased local control over language holidays and customs. porchenko also reached out to the residents of eastern ukraine and is pursuing constitutional reform which will give local regions more authority to choose their regional leaders and protect locally spoken languages. he has said he will meet with separatists at any safe location inside or outside of ukraine. the united states's goal throughout has been consistent, to support a stable and democratic ukraine. we will not be satisfied with a temporary halt to violence. russia must stop destabilizing ukraine and allow all the people of ukraine to decide the country's future. as we sit here, the remains of nearly 300 people, innocent
infants, children, women, and men are strewn across the smoldering landscape in ukraine. those victims came from police nine different nations. they could just as easily have come from any of ours. we must treat all of them as our own victims. we have a duty to each and every one of those individuals, their families, and their countries to determine why that jet fell out of the sky and to hold the perpetrators accountable. we must stop at nothing to bring those responsible to justice. this appalling attack occurred in the context of a crisis that had been fueled by russian support for separatists through arms and training, and the russian failure to follow through on its commitments, and failure to adhere to fundamental principles of the u.n. charter. this tragedy only underscores the urgency and determination with which we insist that russia immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in
ukraine, support a sustainable cease-fire, and follow the path towards peace that the ukrainian government has consistently offered. this war can be ended. russia can end this war. russia must end this war. thank you. >> we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the members of the malaysian flight which crashed, as well as the governments of those countries. there is room for into this -- investigation of what happened. [indiscernible]
it is a difficult situation. we think it would be right to create an international commission. why? why would ukrainian aviation dispatcher sent a flight to an area of military crashes, an area used for carrying out strikes? and where there were anti-aircraft working? in line with international standards. in the territory where the flight is being turned out, they must provide aviation information ensuring security. international law provides for the closures, but it would seem that there would need to be investigation.
and did everything necessary to ensure that the military campaign of kiev would prevent this from occurring. today, kiev declared a full closure of the airspace. why couldn't this have been that -- been done earlier? [inaudible] well, here is that restraint now. artillery tanks and fire. the punitive operation is increasingly full-scale. there has been dozens of civilians killed as well. according to data, there are 45 million people in the area. but there has been no evacuation of civilians from these areas. people leave the areas [inaudible] there are many reports of people fleeing war, seeking refuge.
intentionally targeted by the armed forces. and [inaudible] full-scale.singly civilians killed, as well as transport systems destroyed. data, there are millions who are in the area of clashes. but there has been no evacuation of civilians from these areas. people leave the areas [inaudible] there are many reports of people fleeing war, seeking refuge. intentionally targeted by the
armed forces. russia has more than 110,000 refugees from ukraine, and the number rises every day. this data is confirmed. in this regard, in six regions of russia, the artillery and mortar shelling by the ukrainian armed forces become regular. [inaudible] there are children wounded. we are seeing these provocations. we place all blame on the government and call for the ukrainian side to take decisive measures to stem such incidents in the future. in the meantime, about the danger --called for inclusive dialogue. however, at a crossroads, kiev chose the wrong path. i am talking about the u.s. here. they pushed them to escalate the crisis.
they are trying to [inaudible] however, representatives of the key of -- kiev government proudly proclaimed peace planning. inclusive dialogue. however, at a crossroads, kiev chose the wrong path. i am talking about the u.s. here. they pushed them to escalate the crisis. they are trying to make a blame for the catastrophe. [inaudible]
however, representatives of the kiev government proudly proclaimed peace planning. it became the pretext for military preparation. after the february uprising, the centers [inaudible] is it fortuitous that on channel five of ukrainian television there was a commercial show? there has been violent repression. the number continues to rise. dozens have disappeared. the promised reform of the constitution is being prepared in secret. indeed, according to reports, restitution of powers in the president of the parliament was actually not being sent for --
planned for. the political reasons are well-known. the policy has long been participating in ukraine. bringing them to dialogue would allow for prevention of exacerbation of the crisis. sir, regarding the ukrainian crisis, the international institutions have not risen to the occasion. much is said, but to settle the situation [inaudible]
the delegation proposed serious work on a resolution that would allow for halting of violence. western colleagues responded to our proposal with blatant cynicism. it seems that whatever the government arbitrarily does [inaudible] but it seems that the victims of the geopolitical ambitions of the regime are the people of ukraine.
negotiations for the crisis are still possible, but the right choice must be made. >> established members of the security council, thank you for convening this meeting. i would like to start by addressing my government's deep sorrow and sincere condolences to all the nations whose citizens were killed in the terrible crash of malaysian airlines. ukraine shares the pain of the loss and grieves with the families and friends affected by the accident. today ukraine is morning. ukrainians are pushing the embassies of netherlands, indonesia, united kingdom, germany, belgium, philippines, canada in order to lay down
flowers and express their sorrow. the ukrainians have already addressed international organizations, interpol and others to take and invest a -- an international investigation. we believe this investigation will bring the truth and all perpetrators will be punished. yesterday ukrainian leadership announced a basic version of what has happened with boeing. it was stated it was an act of terror. the position of the government is based on the data from different intelligence and open sources. these data are the aircraft was shot down. several days before, around the same occasion, two ukrainian jets were shot down and terrorist leaders claimed their
responsibility for these acts. interception of telephone conversations between the terrorist leaders and their coordinator, the russian military intelligence -- conference terrorists are standing behind this crime. this conversation is recorded and the secretary promised to convey to the members of the security council. the military leader of the terrorists of the russian origin commented on the social network on having shot down what he believed was the ukrainian ship. [indiscernible] we continue the quote. do not fly in our skies, end of quote. to target and shot down a plane on such high altitude of 10 kilometers would only be
possible using sophisticated antiaircraft system such as sa-11, or similar. by visual photo, terrorist leaders and recording from citizens of the local cities, the terrorists have at least two sa systems. the question is where they got this air defense system from. it receptions, photos and confessions of detained terrorists, including detained russian citizens who were going to join terrorists are telling that the system arrived from russia. all of these and other evidences
must be provided to the international investigation. this tragedy would not have been possible if russia did not support the terrorists and did not provide sophisticated antiaircraft missile systems. ukrainian mission to the united nations many time addressed the security council and member states with information about russia supporting the terrorists. just yesterday we presented new proofs to the media. supplies of weapons of russian origin used by terrorists which has been documented by ukrainian intelligence agencies, media, and general public no longer a secret to anyone. the large submission of the mode of weapons is known by the ukrainian military forces from the terrorist groups in kiev. in most cases, the russian armed forces are specified. the documentary could be available on the website of ukraine as well as from yesterday's is conference of
mine. you can find it in the website of united nations. we have been raised several times here in this whole -- are we concerned that russian nationals directly participate in distribution in eastern ukraine? today some information was given by the colleagues, the leaders of the donetsk republic. recruiting efforts from illegal armed groups fighters expanding inside russia, and they are looking for volunteers with experience operating heavy weapons such as tanks and their defense. russia has allowed establishing
recruiting offices in moscow, which are openly operating on recruiting and sending russian nationals to eastern regions of ukraine. [indiscernible] numerous groups of the russian paramilitary formations -- resin cossacks are supporting -- russian cossacks are supporting terrorists in eastern ukraine. through the whole period of this artificially created conflict supported by russia, it has never of the clique called on its citizens to refrain from joining illegal armed groups -- publicly called on its citizens to refrain from joining illegal armed groups. the federal code states, participation in armed groups which are not determined by the federal law as well as participation in such armed groups on a territory of foreign
state with purpose contrary to that of the russian federation is punishable by five to 10 year imprisonment, end quote. seems no russian nation has been brought to justice for this. their participation in illegal armed groups does not contradict the interests of the russian federation. mr. president, the situation on the ukrainian-russian state border has significantly to thierry rated in the recent days -- deteriorated in the recent days as a result of systematic violations coming from the russian side of the border, as well as prohibitive actions by armed terrorist groups. several times a day, russian mercenaries undertake attempt to break through the ukrainian border from the side of russia. these attempts are facilitated
by russian border protection units antiterrorist forces in ukraine that are repeatedly shelled from the territory of russia. ukraine has all the evidence of those facts for the appropriate international response. number of provocations on ukrainian-russian state border has increased substantially. [indiscernible] this has caused the death of a russian citizen. the russian side accused the armed forces of ukraine in shelling on june 28. [indiscernible] ukrainian armed forces have never attacked or fired to the territory of russia. all are committed by russian terrorists to find grounds for further escalation. it's times -- sounds like a new provocation. on the possibility to provide
strikes against territory of ukraine. mr. president, today colleagues presented some evidences of the deterioration of ukraine and russian borders. every day during the month of july, we observed such violations, including the shutdown of the ukrainian jets. using this opportunity, i would like to attract once again your attention, members of the security council, that russia continues to redeploying new forces extremely close to the ukrainian border. as of july 14, total number of russian armed forces grouped in the region has been significantly increased, totally
of at least 40,000 troops directly around ukraine, up to 18,000 troops in the occupied territory of crimea. up to 21,000 troops. those and similar actions constitute a flagrant violation by russia of its obligation under the u.n. charter and other universally recognized and supposed and international law -- and international law, under the geneva agreements and the declaration of second june. despite international efforts to avoid further escalation and reinforced by presidential peace sign, foreign terrorists and their russian patrons have no intentions to leave us in peace and lay down arms. we are still struggling against
high-capacity military saboteurs who are willing to create instability. the russian site immediately cease provocations on the state border of ukraine. to put an end to terrorists, and end the violence. and stop threatening peace and security in our country, region, and the world as a whole. i thank you, mr. president. >> thank you, mr. president. allow me to congratulate you and the republic on assuming the presidency of the security council for this month. i thank you for convening this emergency meeting of the council on ukraine. i wish to also thank the secretary general for his briefing earlier. for my delegation, the convening of this meeting is indeed timely, given the tragic
incident involving malaysian airlines flight mh-17. malaysia is deeply touched by the expressions of condolence thomas sympathy, and support from across the world. at this difficult time, we wish to express our profound sorrow and convey our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of those aboard mh-17. mr. president, malaysia is shocked and distraught by the downing of the malaysia airlines flight mh-17. the scheduled flight, which departed amsterdam yesterday afternoon at amsterdam local time, was expected to arrive kuala lumpur international airport this morning.
unfortunately, it crashed in the donetsk region of eastern ukraine. 298 people perished in this incident. those who parish to were from the netherlands, 189. malaysia, 44. australia, 27. indonesia, 12. united kingdom, 9. germany, four. belgium, four. philippines, three. canada, one. new zealand, one. and four passengers whose nationalities have yet to be verified. the amsterdam-kuala lumpur route, which regularly crosses ukrainian airspace, was one of the most popular routes for the airlines. according to the international air transport association, at a time when contact with mh was lost, it was flying over non-restricted airspace.
furthermore, the international organization had declared the flightpath to be safe. malaysia airlines also confirmed that the aircraft did not make any distress calls. the government of malaysia has taken immediate action to dispatch a special malaysia disaster assistance and rescue team, comprising personnel from the royal malaysian air force, malaysian airlines, as well as medical staff. in addition, 40 airline staff have been dispatched to amsterdam to support the family and next of kin of the victims. in this connection, malaysia welcomes the pledges of support and assistance aid by other countries to aid research, rescue, and recovery and
investigation efforts. mr. president, yesterday the prime minister has spoken to the president of ukraine. the prime minister of the netherlands, president obama of the united states, and president putin of russia. in those conversations, the prime minister has stressed that if indeed mh-17 has been shot down, the perpetrators must be strictly brought to justice. malaysia strongly condemns any such actions in the strongest possible term, as it would be a flagrant violation of international law, and in outrage against human decency. malaysia demands a full, independent, and transparent international investigation into the incident involving the
relevant authorities, including the international civil aviation organization. i wish to inform the meeting that malaysia has been formally invited by ukraine authorities to take part in the investigation, and we will be sending two representatives to kiev as soon as possible. there should be unhindered access to carry out their mission, including the relevant data evidence, remains, and personal effects of the victims. we wish to underscore that there must be no interference at the
crash site or movement of debris from the area, and including the flight data recorder or block box. the integrity of the crash site must be preserved. malaysia also urges the security council to undertake the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian and investigative personnel in the crash site, in order for them to discharge their duties and responsibilities. mr. president, further facts remain unknown at this point. but the fact that the plane might have been shut down has made the matter even more painful for us. again, this is a grave reminder of how escalation of dispute and threat to international peace and security could claim innocent lives in a most tragic and senseless manner. in this regard, we urge the
security council to step up its role in facilitating a peaceful resolution to the conflict within russia and ukraine with a view to preventing the reoccurrence of such a tragic incident. in concluding, mr. president, on behalf of the government and the people of malaysia, i wish to offer our deep appreciation for all of the support, sympathy and solidarity in this difficult and trying time. i thank you, mr. president. >> during the state department briefing, spokesman jen psaki reiterated that the investigation is ongoing and that the administration will not prejudge ahead of its completion. she stressed, however, that u.s.
officials do not believe this is an accident. here is a portion of her remarks. >> do you consider this as an act of terrorism? >> i think we do not know the origin. any time the loss of innocent lives is seen, it is a horrific act. we will see the investigation through. i will not put additional labels on it he on what the president and the ambassador repeated. >> is this an act of terrorism? >> i am not going to put additional labels on it. >> to rule out that it could have been an accident? >> i think we are not ruling out -- well, we don't feel this was an accident third we feel, i think you heard the president and ambassador power give definitive remarks on this. we will see the investigation through. >> vice president biden yesterday stated that this was no accident. so the department stands by those remarks? >> i think there have also been
remarks that pointed out from the president and ambassador power, as well. >> i want to make sure, because i think that you muddied the waters here. you do not believe this was an accident. you do not believe whoever fired dismissal -- this missile was not aiming at something else. you believe that whoever fired the missile intended to take down a passenger aircraft. >> i was not stating that. i'm not going to go further than i have gone here. >> so, in other words, it may have been an accident in terms of whoever fired this thing, thought that they were hitting a military target. >> correct. >> that is a mistake, that is an accident. >> you're not saying that you know or you believe that this malaysian aircraft boeing 777-200 was targeted by the
people that fired dismissal. >> we do not know more than what was stated or what i have stated today. >> you are expressing a preliminary conclusion. correct? >> that is not my intention. we have been pretty clear, we are participating in the international investigation. we will let that conclude. there is a range of events and information available from what is happened on the ground recently that is all relevant. this happened 24 hours ago. >> going back to square zero -- >> i hope not. >> because accident and mistake are two different things. if you're saying we don't feel that this was an accident, that means you're seeing it is still possible that this plane came down from the sky because
something went wrong with the plane. >> let me just be clear. this happened 24 hours ago. there has not been an investigation underway. we are participating in that process. i'm not going to prejudge it beyond that. i don't think i'm going to have much more to add from here today on this. >> by accident, when you say you don't feel this was an accident, you're saying that whatever file dismissal, it was not a malfunction of the plane. is that what you mean by accident? i think we are getting hung up here. when you say accident, you mean the engine failed or something like that, is that what you're saying? >> there is no evidence of that today. i do not have anything more in terms of analyzing what exactly happened. >> rear admiral john kirby speaks to the press in the pentagon about the malaysian airlines flight area this is 30 minutes.
>> before i take your questions, just a couple of comments. first of all about flight 17. as you know, this morning the secretary spoke with malaysian defense minister and offered his deepest condolences. our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy. the secretary reiterated that united states is prepared to assist in an international investigation. we agreed that investigation must be edible, transparent and unimpeded. all parties within the vicinity of the crash site, russians, pro-russian separatists, and ukrainians must agree to an immediate cease-fire which is
the only way to ensure integrity of the evidence. international investigators must begin given the time and space to do their jobs. clearly, as the president noted a short while ago, we see strong evidence that malaysian air lights light 17 was written by a surface to air missile at an altitude of 33,000 feet. this incident obviously occurred in the context of a conflict fueled by a russian support were ukrainian -- hardened, russian separatists and that support has included arms, material, and training. as we investigate who did this and why, this terrible tragedy underscores the need for russia to take immediate and concrete steps to de-escalate the crisis in ukraine and to support the ukrainian government's plan for a cease-fire.
the crew aboard the [indiscernible] has neutralized over 15% of the chemicals. with that i will take your questions. >> just a few days ago, the head of the european command talked a little bit about the transfer of russian heavy weapons across the border into ukraine. the president spoke about training them. can you go through this and tell us the latest u.s. military assessment of what the russians have been doing and transferring heavy weapons, surface to air missiles, other drought tolerant -- artillery and other military equipment across the border?
>> no hint that russian support for the separatist has ceased. we have reason to believe that russia continues to provide them with heavy weapons and other military equipment, financing as well. they continue to allow these they continue to answer ukraine freely. tanks and personnel have made their way across the border. as been a steady concerted campaign by russia's military to continue to support and resource, advise the separatist. >> have you seen any video out there, any evidence that an sa-11 or missile system was taken across the border? and was the training needed given?
>> i do not have any information about a system in that transit. we're not ruling anything in or out at this point. it is a sophisticated system. the missile itself, the sa-11 which we believe was used to down flight 17 is a sophisticated piece of technology. it is strange to think that it could be used by separatists without some measure of russian support and technical assistance. it is strange to think that they could do that. >> do you have evidence? >> there's a lot that is going to be investigated. we want to let investigators do their work. i do not have an indication now
that a system was wrought over -- brought over, and we do not know exactly who was responsible for firing that missile, but it is sophisticated. >> was the level of training and -- what is the level of training and systems? does it include russian troops going across the border to act as training and advisors side-by-side with the separatists? >> we do not have any reason to suspect that they have not provided some measure of support on the other side of that order. these paramilitary forces that -- bad border. we do not talk about as much anymore certainly did not act or behave or organized to resources like some ragtag militia.
nobody is suggesting that the russian military advice and assistance has not somehow crossed the border. it is just unclear exactly how much and when and who. that is what the investigators are going to look at and that is what we need to let them do. >> are we to believe that it is a coincidence that the president announced sanctions directly in the maker of this system just debuted -- is it a go when students that the president announced sanctions act directly against the maker of the system just a day before? >> i will not get into speculation. clearly, it was just another round of targeted sanctions designed to change the calculus of president putin's behavior and his decision-making. i seem to think that what you're suggesting is -- i have no
information that that is the case. >> what is the working theory about the intent of the and -- was this an intended military target gone awry? or was this an intended military act of terrorism? >> we do not know. >> what is your working theory? >> we do not have a working theory, we just saw this happen yesterday. there are teams investigators trying to get through the site. -- trying to get we have to let to the site. them do their job. -- the >> people in this department have said there about 10,000 to 12,000 regular russian troops. is that still your estimate? have the forces changed the -- changed since the attack yesterday? >> i do not know of any major change to that residence. -- presence.
it is still about 10,000 to 12000 and it fluctuates a little bit from week to week. the point is that over time there has been a steady increase of these combined arms tactical battalions across the border on the russian side to the southeast of ukraine. they are close to the border. in many cases, than those forces closer who were aligned along the east. we had tens of thousands that if you remember, were along the eastern border with ukraine, but not as close as these units appeared to be. all they're doing is further escalating tension. they are there, they are growing in size week by week and they continue to do nothing more than escalate the tension.
>> is the process separate from the -- >> i have not seen any indication that they are actively involved in the provision of support to the separatists. but they are continuing to mass alongside that southern part of the border. >> two questions. does the massing of forces include air defense artillery systems like the sa-11 that was used in that heavy sea air -- in the malaysian attack? >> i do not have an inventory, but we have assessed that these are combined arms units. it is not just infantry troops, but they have artillery capability.
they have armored capability. they are combined arms. they are very ready. this is a very capable force. smaller number than what was aligned along the border before. i do not have a complete inventory. >> have an estimate of about do you 12,000 troops on the russian side. is there an estimate of the size of the advisory presence inside the eastern ukraine by russian forces? is it a handful, is it a thousand guys actual >> i do not -- guys? >> i do not have a number for you on that. we have every indication that that support is russian, coming from the russians. we believe that there is russian support for the separatists inside ukraine.
>> when the general was here a couple of weeks ago he said specifically that the ukrainian separatists were receiving training on russian territory using vehicle borne antiaircraft systems -- a vehicle borne antiaircraft systems. can you elaborate? >> i do not know what system he was referring to. we would agree with his assessment of the some separatists have received some training, in these vehicle borne systems. there's no question about that. i do not have an estimate of how many or who is doing it. i just don't know right now. >> it would raise particular alarms, would it not? that is pretty serious. >> it is pretty serious.