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Malaysian Plane Shot Down; Russia's Propaganda War; MH17: Securing the Crash Site; Israel-Gaza Fighting Escalates; Sudden Death at 30,000 Feet; Imagine a World
Aired July 18, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, 298 dead, a global catastrophe and President Obama lays it on the line. The United
States evidence so far shows a surface-to-air missile fired from rebel-held Eastern Ukraine.
Plus after the Israeli army rolls into Gaza, Prime Minister Netanyahu says the offensive will, quote, "significantly widen." But at what cost?
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to a special hour-long edition of the program tonight. I'm Christiane Amanpour and we are
following all the latest on those two major stores that are rocking the world tonight.
First to the Malaysian passenger jet blown out of the sky. Nearly 300 innocent people killed, many bodies still strewn around a Ukrainian field.
And ominously, these men, self-declared leaders of the Donetsk region, have been among the first on the scene as just hours ago President Obama
announced America's analysis of what and who was responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Ukraine also blames pro-Russian rebels and had immediately released this audio of an intercepted phone call between two
separatists. It purports to be the moment they realized they'd hit a civilian plane.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Well, we are 100 percent sure that it was a civilian plane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Are there a lot of people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Fuck! The debris was falling straight into the yards.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): What plane is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): I haven't figured out yet. I haven't got close to the main wreckage. Now I'm nearby the place where
first bodies started falling. Here are remnants of internal brackets, chairs, bodies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Are there any weapons?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Nothing at all. Civilian belongings medical scraps, towels, toilet paper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Are there any documents?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Yes. One belonging to a student from Indonesia from Thompson University.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: In Ukraine there is shock and anger at the incident. The prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, did not mince his words when calling for
those responsible to be brought to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, UKRANIAN PRIME MINISTER: We ask all respective governments to participate in this investigation and to support the
Ukrainian government to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Petro Poroshenko has been in regular contact with U.S. President Barack Obama since the incident and we're joined now from
Kiev by the president's deputy chief of staff for international relations, Valeriy Chaly.
Thank you very much for joining me tonight from Kiev.
Right now, what is your government's next move?
And how are you reacting to continued comments and accusations from Moscow that Ukraine, the government, was responsible for this?
VALERIY CHALY, PRESIDENT POROSHENKO'S DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: You know, it sounds not strange. We understand that Ukraine and their attacks.
And we are understand that it's only the continual propaganda and information campaign.
We now appreciate that all the world understand that who is responsible for that situation. The global problem, because this illegal
weapons flow goes from Russian side. But everything that goes to Ukraine is now the problem is goes from Russian side. That's why we are ready for
peace. We are ready for decision. We are ready for solution. But we want to have the responsibility from Russia also.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Chaly, you have been speaking with your president, President Poroshenko. There have been a lot of calls between international
world leaders today.
Has Mr. Poroshenko spoken to Mr. Putin?
And do you, within the Ukrainian presidency, believe that this incident might somehow propel President Putin to take up that peace offer
that President Poroshenko has spoken about and told me about a few weeks ago as well?
CHALY: You know, we are understand that we need to use the diplomatic way to resolve this problem and I'll be frank with you, without the
international support, it's very difficult to achieve the result inside Ukraine, despite the readings (ph) of President Poroshenko to intermand
(ph) the peace plan.
You're right, the last days, president of Ukraine, to tell them cut line and every day the phone conversation with all leaders of the world, it
shows that leaders of the world trusted him and he trusts them. So we are now really for the -- any format leader for solution as Normandy format
including Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and President Putin or Normandy can be replaced by Geneva format, including E.U. side and United
So the -- we are ready for everything that lead to solution and I suppose the next days will be crucial important for the diplomatic way of
resolving because I understand that we are -- goes to the red line. Now it's not a problem of Ukraine. It's not a problem inside Ukraine. It's a
problem of this part of the world.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you because just two days ago, before this happened, I spoke with your foreign minister and tensions were escalating;
several Ukrainian jets had been brought down. People had been killed on your side by the separatists, you say.
Now I said do you believe that actually war might be the next move between Russia and Ukraine?
What is the feeling in Kiev right now?
CHALY: You know, our feeling that we are on the past stage of the conflict and we understand that it's a foreign impact and dependence of so-
called separatists. But it's not the separatists. It's the terrorists. It's rebels. And all of them, most of them, whose name is prime ministers,
minister, there's Russian origin. And a simple -- the former officers of Jero (ph). So only Russia can stop them. And we understand which side
ready for negotiation or should be ready for negotiation.
Now the contact group, including RSCE (ph), Ukrainian and Russia, expand the video conferences, I think it's lead us to the next format and I
want to not exclude. I believe it will not exclude the next direct consultation, negotiation, talks among leadership, Ukraine, Russia and our
American and European partners.
AMANPOUR: Now you do not control that area, where the plane has come down. First and foremost, do you believe that the separatists there, the
terrorists, as you call them, will allow a credible international investigation?
And do you believe that there will be conclusive proof found, given the chaos of the situation out there right now?
CHALY: First of all, we are very interested in transparent independent investigation. President of Ukraine Poroshenko invited the now
the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Britain, U.S., specialist experts from Germany, so from it all and tomorrow and today that will arrive. And
today OSCE group of experts on the ground in the place of shooting of aircraft in beneath regions.
So we understand it's only independent and transparent investigation and the using of including the black box, not delivered to the Russian
side, but remain on the Ukrainian side and Minister Lavrov mentioned, allow us to finally to understand what's happened. Because we understand what
happened. All the world understand what happened. But it's the once again the give us very clear understanding.
This is the best point. It's the final point. After that, we need to go to peace. We need to stop war and responsibilities for that now most on
Russian side with support of all international community.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Chaly, I asked you, has President Poroshenko actually spoken to President Putin? And how do you believe pressure can be put on
President Putin or convince President Putin to actually use his influence with those separatists in Eastern Ukraine?
CHALY: You know, that separatists or rebels simply not ready to speak. And they're not represent anybody. They're not give any
representation for the Donetsk people. They are regret them. That's why they are waiting for the decision, final decision by those who are some
moppets (ph) to rule for them. And that's why I think this direct, maybe direct, maybe as any other performance negotiation can be useful.
And once again, we're not exclude the tomorrow or next day's, the full conversation and I also can exclude this is will be part conversation among
Ukrainian and Russian leaders.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Chaly, thank you very much indeed for joining me from Kiev. We're watching this situation obviously incredibly closely, like
Now Russia, for its part, has promised to cooperate with the investigation and says that it's too early to lay the blame for the crash.
The country's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, also questioned why the plane was flying over the area in the first place. Listen to what he told
the Security Council earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): There's need for impartial open investigation of what happened. Pressure
should not be brought on this investigation, trying to prejudge its outcome with broad statements and insinuations that are unjustified in such a
difficult situation. We think it would be right to create an international commission under (INAUDIBLE).
Mr. President, for any normal person I am sure first and foremost a question would arise, why would Ukrainian aviation dispatchers sent after
twice to an area of military clashes, an area which was being used for carrying out strikes against civilian targets amongst others?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And we'll be back after a break with more eyewitness from the crash site. And we will discuss the propaganda wars that are just as
hot as the real wars going on in that region, after a break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back.
"We don't have time for propaganda." Those are the words of President Barack Obama a few hours ago as he called for a credible international
investigation into what caused Malaysia Airlines downing.
My next guest has worked for five years at Russia state television, called Russia Today, otherwise known as RT.
Sara Firth worked in Moscow and London, coverage stories such as the war in Syria, riots in Turkey and the surveillance programs. But today she
publicly quit RT, announcing her departure on Twitter with the words, "I am for the truth."
And she joins me now in the studio.
So, Sara, this is an incredibly sensitive issue because propaganda has been the name of the game and the channel you work for, that you were part
of for the past five years, has been really stirring and fanning this -- the flames of propaganda.
So why did you decide now to call it quits?
SARA FIRTH, RESIGNED FROM RT: It was a long time coming, the decision. I've been thinking about it for a while; I'd been discussing
with RT the possibility of moving on.
So this is kind of the final nudge, I think, for me, watching the story unfold and the way that RT were handling it.
AMANPOUR: So tell me precisely what you mean by that.
FIRTH: It's particularly apparent when it comes to breaking news stories, and particularly very sensitive ones like this. There's not that
sort of journalistic network in operation, where you can trust that what's getting put on air is verified and true.
And it's not just that it's not happening; there's not the drive to make it happen.
AMANPOUR: Let me just quickly quote your series of tweets today.
First of all, you said, "I resigned from RT today. I have huge respect for many in the team, but I'm for the truth."
And you said, "The RT style guide: rule number one, quote, "It is always Ukraine's fault, and add whatever name of whatever Ukrainian
You said also, "We work for Putin."
Is it that direct? Is it that obvious? Is it that ham-fisted?
FIRTH: It's a very difficult situation with RT and as you say, I've worked there for five years and I've defending that decision along the way.
And then I've always named my reasons for it. And I always think the assessment of RT is that it's always called the Kremlin propaganda channel.
I think that that's quite a lazy assessment of what RT is. It's a very complex thing and there's a lot more going on there than that. And there
is some wonderfully talented people and there's so many people, you know, the team I've worked with that really believe in getting the truth out
there and for RT to exist, there is Russian bias. There is misreporting and I've been inside that. So I felt it. I felt what that's like.
But at the same time I don't think that you counter that by doing the same thing and worse. And I felt that that's what we were doing.
AMANPOUR: And that's why you decided to call it quits now?
FIRTH: This is the final -- the final moment --
AMANPOUR: Well you said you'd been discussing with RT about leaving and they've said you've had other offers from other organizations, when
they heard that you were coming on this program. And I am obviously not a disinterested actor. They have criticized me in the past, too. But they
have said, "Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth. RT, unlike the rest of the media, did
not draw conclusions before the official investigation has even begun. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided
which side is to blame."
FIRTH: I mean, that's RT management through and through. That's what I mean about this rotten core (ph) that we work so hard, a lot of us in the
team there, against and it's a real shame that it has to be such a struggle to try and do our jobs properly. And I cannot emphasize enough how
talented and driven and ambitious and honest so many of the people who work at RT every day are. That statement is classic RT management. You know,
the truth is the truth and facts are facts and they exist. And I wish that RT would acknowledge that sometimes.
AMANPOUR: Again, you're -- you went to work for a Russian state broadcaster. You pretty much kind of must have known what you were getting
But let me ask you this because the result of it, the result of what you also contributed to is stirring up a pot of distorted truth, distorted
reality and giving the Russian people the kinds of stories that have made them come to a point where now, we're told, 40 percent of the Russian
people would like to go to war with Ukraine.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility?
FIRTH: Absolutely, of course. It's very difficult and that's something that you have to work every day, working for RT. And I did.
It's hard because, you know, as I said, there is a lot of validity in what they're trying to achieve in giving the Russian people more a voice on an
international stage and questioning more -- that's our tagline, you know. We're just not doing it.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think? Because you're not the only one to have resigned over this Ukraine crisis, over Crimea, a couple of others
resigned as well. They also were criticized for doing that by their management.
Do you think more will? Do you think -- you said it's a rotten core. Do you think is going to continue this station? Or do you think people
will start -- more people will start --
FIRTH: -- I said this to my boss, who had a very long and close relationship with, and they've given me a lot of opportunities along the
way. And I said this to him when I spoke to him today, that how many people will it take? Because it happens repeatedly, again and again. And
at some point you've got to look at what's going on and say, is it all these correspondents' faults who are resigning and leaving the channel
after a couple of years? Or is there something wrong in the way that we're operating?
AMANPOUR: Sara Firth, thank you very much indeed for coming in.
And let's just say one of the more outlandish things that your former network has been reporting is that this was an attempt to shoot down a
plane in which Vladimir Putin was flying.
When we come back, we're going to have an eyewitness report from the Donetsk area, right from the crash site, the OSCE monitors, who have just
managed to get there and will be in charge of trying to secure and do as much recovery as they possibly can, after a break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program and, of course, our coverage of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Preserving the scene and protecting evidence is critical now and the first international organization to arrive at the crash site is the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Their monitors arrived in the Donetsk region just a few hours ago.
And joining me now from there is the OSCE spokesman, Michael Bociurkiw in an exclusive interview from the scene.
Michael, thank you very much for joining me. First and foremost, all sides promise to give you free access and then we heard that there were
Tell us how you got to the zone and were you at all in any danger?
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SPOKESMAN, OSCE SPECIAL UKRAINE MONITORING MISSION: I'm sorry; you're cutting in and out. I'm -- hope I'm answering the
We just came back from the crash site. There is a group of 25 of us. We're expert monitors with the OSCE and we were greeted not in the most
hospitable way, I should say. And also there was a lot of chaos there. What we observed were already bodies starting to partially decompose in the
hot sun. We saw a lot of debris. The debris doesn't look like it's been manipulated in any way. But there's lots of it.
The crash area is very, very big. But we were only given a very small area to actually monitor. And we were greeted almost with hostility. So
it wasn't a visit that was done under the best conditions and we hope to continue again tomorrow.
AMANPOUR: Michael, explain that.
Who greeted you?
And when you say hostility, can you describe it? We heard about gunshots.
BOCIURKIW: I can't hear.
AMANPOUR: Michael, let me try again slowly.
Who greeted you there?
Who was there?
OK. OK. We're going to try and work on this. Michael, stand by. There's obviously a technical problem. And we are going to come right back
and talk to you after we get this sorted out.
After a break, we'll turn to the other big stories later, the stories we're following, that is, even as that Malaysian airline fell from the sky,
any hope of a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians went up in a column of tanks and troops rumbling into Gaza again.
We'll go to the front lines of an existential struggle for sovereignty and security, where the winners and the losers may be indistinguishable.
That is when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to a special edition of our program. We're following all the latest on the downed Malaysia flight in Ukraine, where
nearly 300 people, men, women and children and infants fell to their death yesterday when the jet was blown out of the sky.
President Barack Obama earlier today said that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile and he strongly suggested that it was the work
of pro-Russian separatists aided by Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We know that they are heavily armed and that they are trained. And we know that's not an accident. That is happening because of Russian
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now we'll bring you much more on this tragedy and the geopolitical implications later in the program. But first, right now, the
Gaza war has escalated dramatically in the past 24 hours since Israeli ground troops started to move deeper into the territory. Infantry, tanks,
artillery and continued bombardment by air and by sea.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the operation yesterday as news of the plane disaster was reverberating around the world. He said the
goal is to shut down Hamas tunnels threatening the Israeli border.
Meanwhile, rocket attacks on Israeli continue and Hamas says Israel ,quote, "will pay a heavy price for the invasion."
So far there are two Israeli casualties, while the Palestinian health ministry reports at least 271 Gazans have died with at least 24 deaths
since the ground incursion began.
United Nations says 40,000 people have been displaced in the fighting.
Karl Penhaul is in Gaza with all the latest and we'll get to him in a moment. But first, his powerful report from there.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alerted by an initial smaller explosion, CNN cameras began rolling. A few minutes later, this.
Children once again the victims of an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli military says it's investigating.
PENHAUL: As you can see, it is absolute pandemonium in here now. Tensions and tempers are running very high.
PENHAUL (voice-over): Outside a Gaza morgue a mother learns she must bury her children before their time. Bloody feet and tiny hands, 8-year-
old Afnan Shahaiba (ph), her brother, Wisam, 6, and their cousin, Jihad, 8.
DR. ASHRAF AL-QUDRA, GAZA SHIFA HOSPITAL: I feel so sad because these children are my children, so I hope that I can go back and finish this
PENHAUL (voice-over): Their uncle said they'd been feeding ducks on the roof of their home. He explained they died in the first explosion just
before CNN cameras began recording. He believes an Israeli drone fired the missile. CNN teams heard Israeli drones over the area throughout the
afternoon. They heard no fighter jets immediately before the strike.
Mourners must literally run to bury the children before dusk, according to Islamic ritual.
PENHAUL: The men have just run about 500 yards through the neighborhood with the bodies of the dead children. They've now gone into
the mosque for final blessing.
PENHAUL (voice-over): As the eve fades fast, they head for the cemetery. It's tears of a father over his dead son and then to Afnan (ph),
the little girl whose name means "beautiful meadow," time to say goodbye.
AMANPOUR: And Karl is joining us right now live from Gaza.
Karl, that was a report, a very powerful report, that you put together later -- late last night.
What has been going on today?
PENHAUL: Well, I can only tell you, Christiane, things have got dramatically worse since we filed that report because since then the
Israeli ground invasion into Gaza began and now that assault appears to be intensifying.
Now we've got video for you; I believe you're looking at that video. If you look over my shoulder, that is Gaza's eastern border with Israel.
At the last hour, hour and a quarter or so, we've seen a lot of activity going on there. We've heard artillery fire. We don't know if that's from
the tanks, the Israeli tanks -- they are arrayed on that part of the border -- or if those are from field guns. But there's a lot of artillery fire
that has been going in from there.
And also what you also saw in the sky there, a lot of illumination rounds. Now those illumination rounds could simply be being put up so that
the Israelis can identify targets to then bomb or it could mean that there is a mass movement of Israeli infantry troops on the ground.
Why are they going to need those illumination rounds? Well, we saw in some of that eerie green night scope footage that not a lot of these
Israeli troops appear to be wearing night vision goggles. And so as they advance, if they get closer to their targets, then illumination rounds will
go up so those troops can literally see where they need to go, what targets they need to attack.
Now the Israeli military have said in terms of targets that they are interested in this first phase of the operation of hitting militant tunnels
because in the last few days, commando units from both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have used those tunnels to burrow across into Israel to try and carry
out activities there.
Well, the Israelis, of course, want to stop that. Also the Israeli military wants boots on the ground because they want to try and destroy
some of these rocket launchers, the rocket launchers than they haven't been able to hit from the air. It's been quite impressive that over the last
few days, there's been a lot of Israeli airstrikes both from drones and from the F-16s. And yet still the militants continue to fire rockets.
These rockets appear to be better technology and certainly a longer range than the rockets than they've had in any previous confrontation with
And then again, obviously in all of this, because looking over there, it's dark now. But I can tell you the Gaza Strip, as you well know, is
about the size of metropolitan Las Vegas. There's not a lot of green space here. These houses are densely packed.
And so when that kind of artillery activity goes on there, when there is the threat of Israeli troops coming through your neighborhood, a lot of
the civilians are now finally moving. Now according to Night Masur's (ph) relief agency, last night before the start of the Israeli incursion, about
20,000 Gaza civilians had moved into U.N.-run schools to seek some kind of refuge there.
In the last 24 hours since that incursion begun, that number of displaced persons has doubled. So tonight there are more than 40,000
Gazans sleeping in U.N. schools to try and stay safe from this growing Israeli assault -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Karl, thank you very much. And you get no indication of how long this operation might take?
PENHAUL: We certainly have no indication at this stage. What we did hear from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a cabinet meeting
was that he was preparing to widen this ground offensive and from what we see tonight, certainly the assault tonight is a lot bigger. It's going
along on a lot broader section of that eastern border than it was last night.
So that is an indication that this ground offensive is widening. As I say, the first targets for the Israelis, the tunnels, the rocket launchers,
after that we've got to see. But we know that the Israelis are now in Gaza, on the Gaza Strip with their tanks, with their infantry on the
ground. We've also heard from Hamas' military wing. They say that they're trying to engage the Israelis in hand-to-hand fighting. We understand from
Hamas there's a Hamas claim that they have attacked and tried to disable Israeli tanks. We don't know what success they've had, no independent
confirmation on that.
But certainly every indication is that this offensive is broadening, is widening and no indication how long it's going to last -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Well, Karl, thank you very much for joining me from Gaza.
And we are now going to turn once again to the investigation that's just about getting off the ground over the downing of that Malaysia
Airlines flight in Eastern Ukraine. And we have reestablished contact with our OSCE spokesman, Michael Bociurkiw, in an exclusive interview he joins
us there from the region.
So now, Michael, I hope you hear me a little bit better. I want to ask you who was there.
You said you were met with hostility.
By whom? And were there gunshots fired?
BOCIURKIW: Well, you know, that part of Eastern Ukraine, Christiane, there's a -- there's many small armed groups that we've identified.
They're not necessarily linked together. But this happened to be a particular group that was manning that crash scene.
So it basically looks like one of the biggest -- or the biggest crime scene in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with
heavy firepower, who are quite inhospitable. And there didn't seem to be anyone really control, for example. We -- one of our top priorities was to
find out what happened to the black boxes. No one was there to answer those questions.
There are a lot of foreign journalists on the scene. But it -- I'm told by them that they were kind of organized right before we arrived to
make things look a little bit more organized. So it was a bit of -- unbelievable to us that this was happening, given the scope of the tragedy.
AMANPOUR: Well, you say you have no indication of where the black boxes are. Some have said that those have already been gathered up and
sent to Moscow.
Do you actually believe that you will be able to or a international and credible investigation will be able to be conducted?
Or do you think too much of the crime scene has been compromised already?
BOCIURKIW: I don't think too much of the crime scene has been compromised already . For example, I mean, it's a sad thing to see,
Christiane, but the bodies are still there. They have not been tampered with. We actually spoke to some civilian emergency workers and they said
their job was just to mark where the bodies are and when we asked, well, then what happens?
They said, well, that's somebody else's job.
But in terms of tampering, of debris, it's very hard to say. We plan to stay there for quite a bit longer. We were only given about 75 minutes
today. And we were only allowed access to about a 200-meter strip.
We are going to attempt access again tomorrow, stay there the whole day. But things on the ground have to be a lot better for us to be able to
do our monitoring work and to report exactly what we have seen.
AMANPOUR: I asked you several times and I'm not sure whether you heard me.
Were shots fired in the air or at you and your colleagues?
BOCIURKIW: We were not shot at. Let's be clear about that. There was one shot fired at the end in the air in the direction of some
civilians. But we were not shot at.
We just were not given the access that we expected after some high- level talks that had occurred earlier.
And then, you know, the other aspect, again, that debris and those black boxes, we really need to find someone who is going to give us a
credible account of what has happened so far. Our job, Christiane, as we see it, is to report on the facts, report back to the 57 -- 50-plus -- 50
participating states of the OSCE and then that will hopefully make it easier for experts to come in and do the proper work, the recovery work
that needs to be done.
AMANPOUR: So who you actually dealing with now?
I mean, is there a -- an individual of any credibility who you're dealing with?
BOCIURKIW: Well, before we left Kiev, there were high-level talks, the tripart group you --
AMANPOUR: No, no, I mean on the ground, right where you are, Michael, where you are, on the ground at the crime scene.
BOCIURKIW: On the ground at the crime scene we asked for the commander, the leader; no one showed up. There was one gentleman there in
a uniform, heavily armed and apparently somewhat intoxicated, who wasn't very hospitable or helpful at all. In fact, at the end, he kind of rushed
all of us away, including the journalists.
So there has to be order reestablished very, very quickly. Those bodies are decomposing, as I said. There's a lot of firepower in -- I
should note also that we also heard what sounded like missile fire in the background. The scene is very unsecure at the moment.
AMANPOUR: Missile fire?
BOCIURKIW: Yes. We -- among our group of observers, a lot of them are former military, law enforcement. And according to some of the
journalists -- in the far distance, there's --we detected what sounded like missiles still being fired.
Also you know, the perimeter is not secure whatsoever. They seem to have put some tape up, where we were standing. But otherwise, it's very
easy for anyone really to walk in there and tamper with evidence or debris.
So a lot of work needs to be done, a lot of professional work, very, very quickly.
AMANPOUR: Michael, our team is just getting a call from the so-called governor's office in Donetsk. Now this is the self-declared region of
Donetsk, saying that, quote-unquote "terrorists" have come -- the official governor from there is basically saying that so-called "terrorists" have
come and have started loading bodies on trucks and have driven them away.
Is that true? Have you seen any evidence of that?
BOCIURKIW: We saw absolutely no evidence of that. To us and at least the small area that we were allowed access to, the bodies were staying put.
They didn't give any indication of what their plan was. But obviously there needs to be international experts coming in there and dealing with
this situation very quickly because it is cool right now here in the region. But if it's a warm day tomorrow, it will be -- it will continue to
turn into quite a messy situation.
AMANPOUR: Michael, is there -- I mean, this is an emergency, not just for the dignity of the victims, but for the health implications if things
continue this way.
Is there any kind of airport, any kind of facility where refrigerated trucks or some kind of morgue-like situation can remove these to a
dignified resting place that is -- that is also, you know, healthy?
BOCIURKIW: Yes. Well, the area, number one, is very difficult to access, roads and many, many checkpoints. And secondly there's a lack of I
understand electricity because of the crash. But we have discussed many modalities. And one of those would be, for example, to find whether there
might be a former ice cream factory, something like that, where refrigeration could be provided. And then I know that while we're here
we're having talks with, for example, the ICRC to see if some kind of collaboration could happen there.
But again, Christiane, it's so much depends on outside groups being granted access and safe access to reach that area. And right now that is a
very, very big difficulty.
AMANPOUR: And in the next couple of days, do you expect others? I mean, we've heard from President Obama; we've heard from the Dutch
government. We've heard from the Ukrainian government. You know, people are talking about dispatching, you know, experts, investigative experts.
Are you prepared? Is the location prepared to receive them?
BOCIURKIW: No, the location is not prepared to receive. It's -- I'd describe it almost lawlessness there and I do know we've been in -- as a
courtesy -- close touch with the Malaysian officials and they're sending, I believe, about 60 experts today. Believe there are some coming from
But it's not in any condition for unarmed civilians to easily access. There's very little organization. It would be very, very chaotic. I know
we -- I -- we certainly feel for the relatives of the ones who perished in this flight. That's -- you know order has to come very quickly because
those bodies are lying there in the sun.
And I know they would like to have them identified quickly and moved to a safe area.
AMANPOUR: Just to -- just to repeat what I said about the words of the governor of Donetsk, he's saying that this removal of some of those
bodies is happening right now. And you would not have seen it because you're not actually there right now.
Are there any people to dispatch back there right now, to stop what the governor is saying is going on?
BOCIURKIW: Well, we're in Donetsk City right now. It's about a 1.5- to 2-hour drive to the crash site. And it's very difficult to move around
at night in this region right now. So we are going to do our very best. We're having talks with interlocutors who are connected in that area to
reach the area as early as we can tomorrow morning and we will certainly look into those reports and establish the facts.
AMANPOUR: Michael Bociurkiw, thank you very much indeed for joining me, OSCE spokesman, with that rather gripping and very difficult-to-hear
And after a break, we'll turn once again to the dangerous world, both inside and high above Ukraine. And this is not the first time a civilian
airliner has been shot down in a time of war. We'll have more on that when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. The downing of a commercial flight, a civilian flight, taking so many innocent lives is horrible to contemplate.
And yet imagine a world where the skies have never been safe while conflicts rage on the troubled Earth and seas below.
CNN's Randi Kaye filed this chilling report on the sudden death at 30,000 feet.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): September 1st, 1983, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 en route from New York's JFK Airport to Seoul, South
Korea. It's carrying 269 people, including a U.S. congressman. The plane is on autopilot, yet somehow drifts off course, heading straight for Soviet
Tensions are high, the height of the Cold War. So the Soviet Union scrambles fighter jets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Yes, I'm approaching the target.
KAYE (voice-over): Moments later, the pilot takes aim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Missile warhead's locked on.
I've executed the launch.
The target is destroyed.
KAYE (voice-over): The plane is hit, but continues flying. It spirals toward the ocean for 12 terrifying minutes then crashes into the
sea. President Reagan calls the attack "a massacre."
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This event shocks the sensitivities of people everywhere.
KAYE (voice-over): Five years after that, Iran Air Flight 655 is blown out of the sky. The Airbus A300 was on its way from Tehran to Dubai,
carrying 290 passengers and crew. The plane is brought down by a U.S. Navy ship that happens to be exchanging fire with Iranian ships in the area,
just when the doomed aircraft flies overhead.
The ship fires two surface-to-air missiles killing everyone on board.
ADM. WILLIAM CROWE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Capt. Rogers acted reasonably and did what his nation expected of him in
the defense of his ship and crew.
KAYE (voice-over): Years later, the United States agreed to pay more than $60 million to the victims' families, though the U.S. never admitted
responsibility or apologized to Iran.
In 2001, another tragedy, this time Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 heading from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Russia with 78 people on board.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Siberia Airlines regretfully confirms that our flight, 1812, disappeared from the radar screens at 1345.
KAYE: The plane crashed into the Black Sea about two hours after takeoff, brought down by an anti-aircraft missile. The Ukrainian military
denied any involvement at first, but later did admit it mistakenly shot down the plane, the tragic result of a routine training exercise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My father was on the plane. He's been living in Israel for three years. We visit him last year and
decided to invite him here. He had to come from Tel Aviv today.
KAYE (voice-over): Now, with MH17, more lives lost and more questions. Were they purposely targeted or another terrible mistake?
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
AMANPOUR: And as candles burn in remembrance for Flight MH17 and all those innocent passengers, the grief is doubly unbearable for one
Kaylene Mann lost two family members on the downed passenger jet and in an incredibly cruel twist of fate, just over four months ago she also
lost her brother and sister-in-law when Flight MH370 disappeared from radar and vanished.
And after a break, what was it like to come up on the unspeakable horror of that crash site in Ukraine? A reporter who was on the scene
finds the words to tell us when we come back.
AMANPOUR: New information is being released about who was on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 when it crashed in Eastern Ukraine. Among the
victims were a Roman Catholic nun, an international athlete from the Netherlands, a revered medical researcher and a family traveling on a
Authorities are still trying to determine the nationalities of all the passengers, meaning some families are still anxiously waiting for news.
CNN spoke to one woman in Indonesia, Yuriah Tanzil, whose sister, Ninik, was on board.
YURIAH TANZIL, SISTER OF MH17 VICTIM (through translator): I'm just sad. I'm sad. I still hear her voice. I still wish I could see her
because yesterday we were just talking about how we'll soon meet, get together.
With this news, it really feels like something is lost.
AMANPOUR: Holland, too, is a country in mourning. At least 192 people from the Netherlands were on the flight; by far the most of any
Two were Cor and Neeltje. They owned a flower shop in the small Dutch town of Volendam. Now the flowers lay on the pavement; as journalist
Jonathan Rugman says, "The flowers are for them."
And finally, imagine a world without AIDS. That dream died a little with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. The tragic news of that
crash kindled a candlelight vigil in Melbourne, Australia, where the host of this year's global AIDS conference. That's because among the passengers
on the doomed flight were 100 of the best and brightest HIV scientists searching for a cure.
Led by Joep Lange, a world-renowned researcher and a giant in the field. They were on their way to join their colleagues and share their
knowledge in the fight against AIDS. Treva Staten (ph), one of the conference attendees, told Australian television, "The cure for AIDS may
have been on that plane. We just don't know."
And the former U.S. president Bill Clinton, scheduled to give the keynote speech at the conference next week, had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They were doing so much good. The -- you know, this gathering, we do this on a regular
basis, have these international AIDS conferences. And I try to go to all of them because I'm always so inspired by what other people are doing and
what we can learn from them and so since I left office, it's been a kind of a regular part of my life.
Thinking about those people being knocked out of the sky. It's pretty tough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Indeed, everyone died a little with the deaths of those dedicated souls, and with the reckless killing of every man, woman and
child on board that flight.
That's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website, amanpour.com, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.