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Obama confirms MH17 was shot down

Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

President Obama's press conference on MH17 Friday morning

President Barack Obama just spoke at the White House on the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, and confirmed that the plane was brought down by a missile. "Evidence indicates the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine," Obama said. The president also confirmed that at least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was killed in the crash.

Obama called for a cease-fire in the area so "a credible international investigation" could be conducted. "I think it's very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is merely speculation," he cautioned.

Yet he did list several recent incidents in which pro-Russia separatists claimed responsibility for shooting down Ukrainian aircraft, and pointed out that the separatists have received "a steady flow of support" from Russia, including sophisticated weaponry. "Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation," Obama said. "It has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists." He added, "Now is, I think, a somber and appropriate time for all of us to step back and take a hard look as what has happened. Violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences."

Asked if the US military would get involved, Obama said that beyond continuing to comply with NATO treaty obligations, "we don't see a US military role."