Obama: Russia, Putin Have Responsibility to Compel Separatists to Cooperate

The president delivers remarks on the inability of international investigators to gain access to crash scene of MH17.
5:52 | 07/21/14

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Transcript for Obama: Russia, Putin Have Responsibility to Compel Separatists to Cooperate
Back to you -- It's now been four days since Malaysian airlines flight seventeen was shot down. Over territory controlled by Russian backed separatists. In Ukraine. Over the last several days and our hearts -- -- capsule was broken. As we've learned more about. The extraordinary and beautiful lives that were lost. Man. Women. And children. And infants. Were killed so suddenly and so -- Our thoughts and prayers continue to be -- their families around the world were going through. Just unimaginable grief I've had the opportunity to speak to a number of its leaders around the world whose citizens. Were lost on this flight and all of them remain in the state of shock but frankly also in the state of outrage. Our immediate focus. Is on -- recovering. Those who were lost. Investigating. Exactly what happened. And putting forward the facts. We have to make sure that the truth is out. And that accountability exists. International investigators. Are on the ground they've been organized I've sent teams other countries sent -- They are prepared -- organized to conduct what should be. The kinds of protocols and scouring. And collecting of evidence. That. Should follow any. In -- national incident like this and what they need right now is immediate and full access to the crash site. They need to be able to conduct a prompt and full and unimpeded. As well as transparent investigation. And recovery personnel have to do the solemn. And sacred work of recovering the remains. Of those who were lost. Ukrainian president -- -- has declared a demilitarized zone around the crash site. As I said before you have -- international teams already in place prepared to conduct the investigation and recover. The remains of those who have been lost but unfortunately the Russian backed separatists who control the area continue to block the investigation. They've repeatedly prevented international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage. Investigators approached they fired the weapons into the air. These separatists are removing evidence from the crash site all of which begs the question what exactly are trying to hide. Moreover these Russian backed separatists are removing bodies from the crash site. Oftentimes. Without the care that we would normally expect from a tragedy like this. This is an insult to those who have lost loved ones. That's the kind of behavior that has no place. In the community of nations. Now. Russia has extraordinary influence over these separate -- no one denies that. Russia has -- -- urge them on Russia has trained them. We know that Russia has armed them -- military equipment and weapons including anti aircraft weapons. Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens. So given its direct influence over the separate us. Russia and president proven in particular. As direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate. With the investigation that is the least that they can -- Present -- says. That he supports a full and fair investigation and I appreciate those words but they have to be supported my actions. The burden now is on Russia to insist that the separatist stop tampering with the evidence. Grant investigators were already on the ground immediate full and unimpeded access to the crash site. The separate -- and the Russian sponsors are responsible for the safety. Of the investigators doing their work. And -- -- our allies and partners. We will be working this issue at the United Nations today. More broadly as I've said throughout. This crisis. And the crisis in Ukraine general. I've said this directly to President Putin as well as publicly my preference continues to be finding a diplomatic resolution. Within -- I believe that can still happen. That's my preference today and will continue to be my preference but. If Russia continues to violate Ukraine's sovereignty and -- -- peace efforts. And these separate -- become more more dangerous and now are risks not simply to the people inside Ukraine. But the broader international community. That Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community and the cost for Russia's behavior will only continue to increase. Now it's time for President Putin and Russia. To pivot away from the strategy that -- been taken. And get serious about trying to resolve. Hostilities within Ukraine in a way that respects -- -- sovereignty and respects the right of the Ukrainian people who make their own decisions about their own lives. And time is of the essence. Our friends and allies need to be able to recover those who were lost that's the least we can do. That's the least that decency demands. Families deserve to be able to -- their loved ones to rest -- dignity. World deserves to know exactly what happened. And people of Ukraine deserve to determine their own future. Thanks.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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