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U.S. builds case against rebels, Russia in downing of jetliner

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Ukrainian government officials have asserted that they have proof that Russia provided rebels with the actual missile used to shoot down the airliner. The Obama administration has stopped short of making that claim but has built a steadily expanding circumstantial case that the Russians were at least indirectly involved.

"There’s an enormous amount of evidence, even more evidence than I just documented, that points to the involvement of Russia in providing these systems, training the people on them," Kerry said on CBS’s "Face the Nation."

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At the same time, Kerry indicated that the United States lacked proof that Moscow was directly responsible for the deaths of the airline passengers. "There’s a stacking up of evidence here that Russia needs to help account for," he said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." "We are not drawing the final conclusion here, but there is a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible."

Russian officials have not responded to the accusations that their forces supplied SA-11 units and training to the rebels. In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin indirectly blamed the government of Ukraine, saying that it "bears responsibility" because it has not ceased hostilities with the separatists.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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