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US: Can't rule out Russian role in plane downing

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Friday the United States cannot rule out help from Russia in the launch of the surface-to-air missile that shot down a Malaysian airlines jet killing all 298 people on board.

Power said the U.S. believes the SA-11 missile was fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists who previously boasted about obtaining such missiles. She said Russia has provided SA-11s and other heavy weapons to the separatists.

“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,” Power told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Thus it is extremely important than an investigation be commenced immediately.”

The Security Council approved a statement calling for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation.”

The press statement expresses the council's “deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims, and to the people and governments of all those killed in the crash.”

Council members stood in a moment of silent tribute to the 298 victims at the start of the emergency council meeting, called by Jordan.

The council called for an investigation “in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability.” It stressed the need for “immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident.”

The jetliner was shot down Thursday as it flew high above separatist-held territory.

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