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Washington (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine downed a Malaysian passenger jet as he pressed for an international investigation.

Obama said that at least one U.S. citizen was among the 298 dead. The State Department identified the victim as Quinn Lucas Schansman, who also held Dutch nationality.

“Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions,” Obama told reporters.

“Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine,” Obama said.

Obama, while saying he was waiting for the full picture, highlighted that the pro-Russian rebels have in the past downed Ukrainian aircraft.

Obama, who earlier this week ramped up sanctions on Russia over the conflict, called on President Vladimir Putin to “take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine.”

“I think it’s important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscored that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine,” Obama said.

“Now is, I think, a somber, appropriate time for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what has happened. Violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences,” he said.

AFP Photo/Jim Watson

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