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Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Shot Down in Ukraine; Senior Defense Official: "Working Theory" Is Russians Supplied The Missile System Used; U.S.: Can't Rule Out Russian Role In Plane Downing

Aired July 18, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us.

Shock is giving away to horrifying reality tonight. It is a reality that even shrouded in darkness breaks your heart as the notion of how this came to be, turns your stomach. It is a large piece of what was the Malaysia 777 flight 17 inside the wreckage that remains no life.

Human remains are everywhere. White ribbons mark the place they came to rest after a missile blew the plane from the sky. They lie in a war zone. And tonight, because of that, because of that fact, more than a day after the fact, they lie there still, another horrifying reality.

So is the reality that a weapon of war brought down a civilian jet and due to that, America's already tense relationship with the cold war adversary is getting tenser yet still. The chill is growing and rhetoric is heating up as new facts emerge in the investigation.

We are going to cover all the angels tonight. We go live to CNN's Phil Black in a moment, the only correspondent to get access to the crash site and we will as always, take time and great care to try to try to remember the lives, to honor the lives of the men, the women and the children on board flight 17.


COOPER (voice-over): Images from inside Malaysia airlines flight 17 before take off yesterday as the 298 passengers and crews prepare for their 11-hour journey to Kuala Lumpur. The consensus a surface-to-air missile from eastern Ukraine downed the commercial jet, who is responsible for the act is still unknown.

But take a look at this video released by the Ukrainian government. It looked to shows a Buk missiles system, the same kind believed to shut down the plane driving through pro-Russian territory in Ukraine heading towards Russia.

Look closely, notice one missal missing. The video saying to be taken just after the plane was shot down. A senior defense official tells CNN the working theory is that Russia provided pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine with the anti-aircraft missile system that took down the jet. President Obama declined to place direct blame on any one party but had strong words for his Russian counterpart. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The violence that is

taking place there is facilitated in part, in large part, because of Russian support. And they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction.

If Mr. Putin makes a decision that we are not going to allow heavy armaments and the flow of fighters into Ukraine across the Ukrainian Russian border, then it will stop.

COOPER: The Ukrainian government continues to blame both Russia and separatists for the incident calling it an act of terrorism in releasing audio recordings intercepted they say from rebels talking about taking down an aircraft just after the plane crashed.


COOPER: At the crash site, pieces of white cloth dot the landscape marking the spots where the victims fell.

Witnesses describe the terrible moment when the plane and everything in it fell to earth.


COOPER: It was a very strong plane rumble and then there was a sort of explosion or flab and then people started falling from the sky, this man says. People were appearing right from the clouds, then the plane's fuse lodge landed here, 50 meters away from here.

Complicating the situation where the crash occurred, the territory in eastern Ukraine control by pro-Russian rebels making it difficult to access the site and preserve the evidence. Reporters have already observed looting by locals.

And 30 monitors from the organization for security and corporation in Europe were only allowed to view about 200 yards of a debris field estimated to be six square miles.

MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE: It basically looks like one of the biggest crime scene in the world right now guarded by bunch of guys in uniform with heavy firepower who are quite inhospitable.

COOPER: More troubling, the whereabouts of the plane's flight recorders or black boxes are unknown following rumors they have been taken to Russia. A Ukrainian official told CNN, they are in Ukraine, though he seemed unable to say where.

One of many claims and counter claims complicating a crime and tragedy that's growing larger by the day.


COOPER: Well again, the crash site in eastern Ukraine remains a very dangerous place.

Our Phil Black is the only reporter on scene. He joins us now live.

Phil, you arrived at the crash site earlier today. What have you been seeing? Describe it, if you can.

PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's difficult. First of all, clearly, what stands out, what you see behind me, these big pieces of wreckage that really represent the catastrophe that took place over the skies over eastern Ukraine more than 24 hours ago. The sheer force responsible for tearing apart the aircraft.

But then you look closer into the fields, the very wide open fields in this area or among the tall grass you see evidence of the human costs. There are still so many bodies lying here, lying in the grass and they do not look like they are about to be moved in the near future.

There is something of an operation to at least identify the locations of some of them. They are marked with small white flags or white clothes but speaking to the emergency workers here, they say it's not going to happen quickly and indeed, they think someone else has to come in to do it. They don't see it as their job specifically.

So there is clearly a big question mark over if or when, first of all, any sort of substantial investigation can get underway here. And then, of course, when these bodies can be treated with the appropriate dignity, Anderson.

COOPER: And who is in charge of this area and how difficult is it to get to this area?

BLACK: This area is firmly under the control of those pro-Russian rebels, no doubt about it. There are some Ukrainian government emergency workers here, but those are local people. They are still paid by the government in Kiev. But very much locals and they working very closely under the supervision of those rebels. Everything they do, the rebels are watching or not too far away, carrying their assault rifles, really determining what is allowed to happen here and what is not.

When we first arrived here tonight, the first question we were asked by those emergency workers is do we have the rebels' permission to be here. And to be fair, if the rebels did not allow us to be here, it would be very difficult to get this far.

It was already very difficult as it was, numerous check points, a very strong powerful armored presence. We saw lots of armored vehicles, lots of men with guns questioning us at every turn. It took many hours, but we were able to make it.

What I'm saying, though, very clearly, is that it is those rebels who are calling shots and determining what is taking place here, even if it is only limited action so far, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil, do you know what piece of the aircraft that is you're in front of? Can you tell? BLACK: It is difficult to tell with great accuracy but it is clearly

part of the fuselage. It appears to be a fairly narrow section and indeed a tapering section. So logically, I think that would suggest some section towards the tail of the aircraft. But it is substantial and next to it there is another big piece, as well.

The interesting thing to note is that if you -- we'll just show it to you more closely. We are going to zoom in so you can see it, zoom in carefully, I have to say because there is so much here we just can't show you. We can't point the camera in various directions because of what we are surrounded by.

But the interesting thing to note here you have this big piece of wreckage. But if you turn around 360 degrees, as far as you can see here, this is the only substantial piece. All the other big pieces of the wreckage are a vast distance from here or a couple miles down the road and so forth. Again, really showing that fact that it clearly broke up in the sky. And so, the debris field is really over a very, very wide area, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil, obviously, we're showing an abundance of caution. We don't want any family members to see their loved one in these conditions on television. That's certainly not something anybody would want.

Phil, stay there for us.

It bears repeating, every disaster like this has its own set of associated challenge. Unlike 370 we have wreckage, but as you just heard, only restricted access to it and a cause but no clear line yet, at least not publicly of the precise account accountability.

Different challenges to be sure that many aviation disasters, no less difficult and plenty to talk about with our expert panel.

Phil Black staying there with us. Also along with aviation correspondent Richard Quest here, safety analyst David Soucie, also former transportation department inspector general Mary Schiavo and Phillip Mud, veteran counterterrorism official to CIA and the FBI.

Richard, let's start with you. Securing the scene, these black boxes, again, we don't know the status of these black boxes. There is still, though, a lot that can be learned without them.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The wreckage itself will give up many of the secrets of what happened in my ways. With the proper experts going in there, it would not be that difficult relatively quickly.

What is worrying me tonight, looking at the pictures, hearing Phil Black's report, seeing the situation, is how you scale this up so that it becomes not even a half descent recovery rescue operation with dignity.

We are so far away from that which needs to be in place. Now where are they going to come from? The Russian side? Unlikely. Ukraine hasn't got access. The rebels, not today. The OSCE, they can't get enough people in necessary to this.

So my major concern tonight is how you scale up this operation to make it descent, dignified and do it quickly.

COOPER: I mean, you think about Hurricane Katrina, where it took, you know, on day four, day five, there were still fellow citizens in the streets who have not been collected. There weren't refrigeration facilities to care for people. This is a far more complex in many ways.

QUEST: Hazmat suits, refrigeration, markings, God forbid for saying it, but the bags necessary for human remains. All these sort of things have to be brought in. Otherwise, it's dangerous for the rescuers, it's dangerous for everybody. But I can't see an obvious way this suddenly becomes possible in this environment.

COOPER: And David Soucie, we heard from OSCE monitor today saying that the bodies of the deceased, and obviously, this is something that rescuers have to deal with. I mean, they have been out there for a length of time. There are weather conditions. That is only going to deteriorate, that is going to deter rate rapidly and doesn't seem like there is anyone on the ground capable of dealing with this number of fatalities.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: No, and as it progresses, the risk of disease, the bio hazards, things like that become far more than anyone can really deal with. You have to get people out there who really know what they are doing to process just one soul, one body can take as many as two or three people to process, identify properly take care of and then remove a body. Takes about two to three people.

So if you figure there is 290 some people there, you're talking an army of people to be processed. It is not just people with cell phone cameras taking pictures and walking through fields. I'm also concerned about personal safety of everyone there, particularly Phil as close as he is to that. For us to prepare as an accident investigator, it takes nearly a year to get proper vaccinations, to get the (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Phil, I mean, you talked a little bit who is on charge on the ground. Are there different pro-Russian groups in charge of different areas? As we know -- I mean, this is really let's call it what it is, this is a crime scene. There are multiple crime scenes spread over large. Are there different groups in charge of different crime scenes?

BLACK: Yes, there are, indeed. So the group that we've been experiencing here, Anderson, had been reasonably welcoming, reasonably even supportive of our presence as have others that we have met tonight. But you heard the OSCE's response that they say they received from another group, which was very hostile. They even fired their guns in to the air, clearly acting in a very intimidating way towards them. And we heard similar reports from other people at various places across the debris field, as well.

So yes, different people in different areas. And by the admission, all the separatists leadership here, they don't control all of these groups as closely as they would like.

One of the reasons they were a little concerned about us making our way out here tonight, that is a fact is that not all of these groups listen to that centralized leadership as much as others. And it all ties in to what we've been talking about and that is that the situation on this ground cannot possibly change significantly quickly.

The question of where the necessary resources and people and infrastructure that could come in to take care of all this, it is not easily answered, not from the separatists here, not from the Ukrainian government, very unlikely from Russia, as well.

COOPER: Mary, we heard the NTSB has a team that could go in but how does that work? Do they have to be invited in? Who would do that inviting in this kind of situation?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, in this case, Ukraine can invite them in. It's their land. So technically, they have the ability to do that. but since it's a crime scene, you would expect them to do that and more.

And just to put it in perspective, for example, Pan Am 103 which is a crime scene, there were 1,000 investigators assigned there to get to work and go through, literally, comb the fields. So you know, that at a minimum, you need 1,000 investigators and that's about what it takes. So how they are going to get them all there with hostilities.

COOPER: Phil Mudd, there are two FBI agents already on the way to the scene. We are told, an official telling CNN that they are going to try to assist in the investigation. You say they have another goal starting proceedings for the criminal investigation.

PHILIP MUDD, VETERAN COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL TO CIA/FBI: Yes, I think we, Anderson, we got to look at two baskets here. Mostly in past, there are so, we looked at the intelligence basket. That is understanding what happened in a snapshot in time when the missile was launched. Do we have a hit signature? Looking for examples, something we haven't talked about over the past few weeks, our intelligence analysts who are going to look at a bunch of data and say did we see truck matted missiles moving around? Did we see missiles go across the border?

With FBI agents there now and with the identification of a dual citizen, American citizen on that plane, there is a separate basket that is do we have evidence that can be admitted in the international criminal court in a court of law in New York City or Washington years down the road?

Furthermore, forget about the site, can you talk to people who might have witnessed that plane coming down? Were there witnesses over time in the course of years, can we talk to people in the Ukraine opposition who might have been involved and responsible for this? So those are two different baskets. And with the FBI there now, we're transitioning into the criminal realm.

COOPER: Is there president for this? I mean, you have a commercial airliner going down in a rebel held area in the midst of a war zone in terms of a hotly contested political climate.

SCHIAVO: Well, there are, but not in this situation where it's a large civilian jetliner with an American on board. There have been about 22 shoot downs and half of those had been in rebels in war areas. Of course, the number one area is always around -- has been around Russia. But yes, about half the shoot down haves been in situations like this but not in this magnitude, not this number of people.

COOPER: We got to take a break. We are going to talk to the panel throughout our special extended coverage tonight. We'll be on until 10:00 hour tonight because there is so much to cover.

When we come back, we want to tell you about some of the people who are on flight 17. We started to learn more about them and some of their family members want you to know about them. They want you to know about the lives they lived, not just about how their lives ended, but the lives they live, what they accomplished in those lives, the love they had for their fellow family members, what they did, all that they can say about them. You'll hear from some people who miss them so much in just a moment.


COOPER: We're spending two hours tonight on the downing of flight 17 because there are so many avenues the investigation is taking. So many implications and global ramifications. On a 24-hour news network, there is time for that.

Now though, we would like to make time to tell some of the stories of the 29 8 people who lost their lives. Because beyond the geopolitical implications of all this, in the end, this is a human tragedy for the families of all those friends, for all those who died.

Two hundred ninety eight dead is not and should not be a statistic. It is 298 moments of hope, 298 sets of dreams and bittersweet moments, 298 people who loved and were loved who experienced triumph and loss and deserve a moment.

There is Quinn Lucas Schansman, a dual-American and Dutch citizen. That's his photo. He is the only American on the flight we learned today. He was studying business in Amsterdam. He loved to play soccer. Friend says he was the kind of guy who stuck up for you and you made you laugh when you were hurting. Quinn Schansman, we remember tonight.

Karlijn Keijzer was from Amsterdam, was pursuing a doctor in chemistry in Indiana University where she was scholar and an athlete. She was a champion rower and say her friends a passionate one of that. She and her boyfriend were traveling together. Karlijn Keijzer, we remember.

Nick Norris is a western Australian man and he was traveling with his grandchildren three of 80 kids on the flight. He was bringing them home for the new school year. Nick loved his grandkids and he loves sailing and he looked forward to sailing with them in the waters off Perth. Nick Norris, we'll speak with his nephew a bit later tonight. And as we mentioned at the top, the loss of flight 17 created a

terrible brain drain in the life sciences.

Joep Lange was one of dozens of AIDS researchers and workers on board headed to a conference in Australia. One friend and colleague says he was a hard core scientist with the heart of an activist.

Another remembers him as an extraordinary person, scientist, humanitarian who fought (INAUDIBLE) if the dignity of all HIV infected persons throughout the world. Joep Lange, we remember.

We'll also going to speak with Sanjay Gupta and others about Dr. Lange later on tonight as well.

RJ Ryder (ph) was also a scientist who change lives for the better as a leading researcher, n western Australia's department of agriculture in food. He helped rehabilitate thousands of acres of land damaged by salt in the soil and water. He and his wife Yvonne were returning from the Netherland where they were visiting family.

We're joined tonight by his brother, Drew.

Drew, thank you for being with us. I'm so sorry for your loss, losing your brother, your sister in law, as well. What kind of people were they? Were they like?

DREW RYDER, LOST BROTHER AND SISTER-IN-LAW: My brother was one of the most generous warmest people I've known. Just a very -- guy that enjoyed life, liked adventure but just cared a lot about a lot of other people. He had a very, very strong family man, loved his kids and his grandkids just a wonderful individual.

COOPER: He had three grown kids, is that correct?

RYDER: That's correct.

COOPER: And I understand they live near him. How are they holding up?

RYDER: It's been really tough, as you can imagine. Such a shock and that's, you know, we're just trying to process this. It just happened so suddenly and I just -- it's hard for me even to still comprehend what happened.

COOPER: When something like this happens, I mean, what is the process? Did somebody contact you? How did you first learn that your brother and his wife were even on the flight.

RYDER: Well my family is originally from the Netherlands. My parents were Dutch. They immigrated to Australia. And that's where I was born and the rest of my siblings. So we have a lot of family in the Netherlands and they were visiting there as well as other parts of Europe. And my uncle had brought them to the airport in Amsterdam and it was him that called me yesterday morning absolutely distraught saying have you seen the news? This plane has gone down and, you know, your brother was on the plane and I, you know, I was in disbelief. I said how do you know? Are you sure? He said absolutely. I dropped him off at the airport and I can see it just crashed. So, that's how I found out.

COOPER: I know your family released a statement saying that you're not seeking justice or retribution for the accident that you are placing blame. Can you explain why that was important for you to convey?

RYDER: Well, yes, we're -- our entire family, we're strong Christians. Our faith is very important to us and part of that faith tradition says that we should forgive those that have wronged us. And in this case, you know, we know that there were some terrible things that were done. We don't know who was responsible. It's not important for us to come after those people. If anything, we want to forgive them for some things that they have done here that they shouldn't have done.

COOPER: It's an extraordinary expression of your faith, especially at a time like this. Is there anything else you want people to know about your brother, about your sister-in-law?

RYDER: Yes, just that, you know, they were very content with life. I think they were ready to go, if you know what I mean, at any time. And I'd like to think that, you know, we're all kind of in that position. Obviously, we enjoy experiences in life. But I think this to me was a testament that you should live life to the fullest because you don't know how long you have on this earth. And you know, he certainly did that.

Yvonne, his wife, same, was supportive of him, understood him and supported him in his enjoyment for life and experiences and he was also accomplished a lot in his career with the department of agriculture, 30 years there. In fact, he was due to receive an award on the day after he got back for his 30 years of experience and with the department.

COOPER: Drew, I appreciate you taking the time to tell us about them both them. And again, I'm so sorry for your loss and please express my condolences to the rest of your family.

RYDER: Thank you.

COOPER: For all the people experiencing such deep feelings of loss, there are some who are in a different kind of shock at what might have been and nearly was but for one twist of fate or another.

According to the BBC, Berry Sim, Izzy Sim and their infant son tried to board MH-17 but could only get one seat so they switched to a later flight.


IZZY SIM, FAMILY NEARLY TOOK FLIGHT 17: I'm shaking. I don't even know what to do and I'm feeling physically sick. I was like coming to the airport in the taxi I was just crying. I'm just thinking, I feel like I've been given a second chance. And so hopefully, that we'll get there safely and we'll see my family again.


COOPER: It is incredible. Hers is not the only such story of good or bad fortune tonight.

When we come back, another angel, the search for accountability by learning all that can be learned for the missile involved, where it came from and what it took to send it on its deadly way.


COOPER: Welcome back to continuing coverage. You're looking at a live picture of part of the downed aircraft laying in a field in Ukraine. Total destruction, as Phil told us a bit ago, daybreak coming soon. The horrors of that site becoming visible for yet, another second day.

As we have been reporting, the working theory is pro-Russian rebels were the ones who brought down Flight 17 with a BUK missile system supplied by the Russian military. That according to a senior defense official from the United States who would not give details about what specific intelligence led to that assumption.

Meanwhile, though, U.S. intelligence and military analysts are examining this video, take a look, released by the Ukrainian government, apparently showing a BUK system being driven back toward the Russian border after the plane went down.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto joins me now live. So what more are we finding out about the weapons used to bring down this plane?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I think the most substantial step forward today is the U.S. assessment to fire the missiles, the pro-Russian rebels would have needed some Russian help. That was said on the floor of the U.N. Security Council by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power.

The Pentagon spokesman, Admiral John Kirby going a step further even saying it would strain for those rebels to fire this without Russian help. They don't have it yet. They don't have evidence that they have Russian advisors present at that time that it happened, but they are at least raising hard questions and suggesting that they would have at least needed some help to make this happen.

COOPER: Are things any clearer today as to exactly where the weapons may have come from? You and I talked about this earlier today because yesterday, there had been a report that perhaps they had been taken from a Ukraine military base months ago in Crimea and then there was also one person who said today or unofficial telling CNN that they came from Russia.

SCIUTTO: Well, this is the working theory of U.S. officials, that the weapons came across the border, this missile launcher came across the border from Russia. Yesterday officials said they knew, there were pictures up on the Internet that the rebels had somehow captured one of these at a Ukrainian base and might have somehow gotten it to Eastern Ukraine.

It's not established if this is the same one, but I'm told by U.S. officials that at least the work in theory now is that it came across the border. You reference that video that shows this missile launcher going back into Russia after the strike. Ukrainian officials gave us recordings earlier today that purported to show those pro-Russian rebels describing the missile launcher as it came into Eastern Ukraine from across the border in Russia.

And I have spoken to U.S. officials. I asked them do they have any reason to doubt the authenticity of the recordings. They say they do no. They cannot confirm them, but they don't have reason to doubt them.

COOPER: Jim, appreciate the update tonight, thanks. Jim Sciutto with me as CIA senior official, Phillip Mud and also CNN military analyst, Lt. Col. Rick Francona. You're familiar with this missile system. We heard from the Pentagon today that it is relatively sophisticated, that they believe there must have been or in all likelihood there were some sort of training by Russian forces where that took place, when that took place is unclear. How much training would somebody need?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: For the similar U.S. system, we put someone through six months of training and this is a four-man crew so it's not just one person being trained. You have to have somebody that can run this.

COOPER: Four people who have different roles to play.

FRANCONA: Right, one will run the radar, one will run the missile, and one will run the other radar. There are several different radar systems that have to be run. This is a very sophisticated system. We're watching one unit, 1/4th of the system. That's the key part, launcher and radar. We're not seeing the acquisition radar, which leads me to believe that when they turned this on, they had a limited radar capability and they probably had trouble identifying that target as a civilian airliner.

COOPER: Phil, from an intelligence perspective, what can you add to the investigation by tracking this weapon, if in fact, Ukraine ministry put on the Facebook page, the video of the weapon allegedly being brought back to Russia. If the weapon itself crosses over into Russia and disappears, is that kind of game over in terms of determining the trajectory of this, more about it?

PHILLIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, CIA: It's not even close to game over. First, there is the pro-attack stuff, prestrike stuff you'll look at. Volumes of imagery intelligence saying did we see missile systems moving around within Ukraine then there is a lot of after action, Anderson, that we haven't talked about. You'll look at intelligence to say, do we see a system like this moving around? Do we see it moving across the border?

There is an interesting piece of that this and that is human intelligence we haven't discussed. You have presumably sources within the Ukraine opposition, maybe run by the U.S., maybe they are run by the Ukrainians, what are they saying when can we get access?

And finally, in my experience, when you have a tragedy like this, you might have members of the opposition who become disaffected from the opposition. People in my old business we call walk ins, who walk into a U.S. facility, call in, send an e-mail and say, I'm disgusted with what I've seen.

I want to talk to you about what I know. The walk in situation, whether we find people in the coming days or weeks who want to talk about what they have seen is pretty significant.

COOPER: Can you definitively match, you know, a particular weapon system to this crash, or do you need the actual radar that's on the weapon system?

FRANCONA: Well, yes, you can, is the short answer. The war head will be the key here and that's why they need access to this site, fairly quickly so they can check the residue on that aircraft. This was a proximity fused war head. So it would approach within 100 meters and detonate. If they can find out what that was, they can match that to the type of war head, the explosive.

COOPER: What you're really talking about is a war head that explodes, sends out shrapnel that disables the aircraft and in some cases rips it apart and that's why in some cases we are seeing large pieces of the aircraft. It's not something that completely disintegrated --

FRANCONA: It's not a kinetic strike. The missile doesn't strike the aircraft. The war head explodes in the proximity and shoots out all this shrapnel and that's why you see the aircraft breaking up, but not necessarily exploding.

COOPER: Lt. Col. Francona, it's good to have you on. Philip Mudd as well. Coming up, we're looking at the impact the latest developments will have on diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia. President Obama had some tough words for President Putin today. That's next. A lot more to cover.


COOPER: There are new questions tonight about diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States in the wake of Flight 17 being shot down. The crash came just a day after the United States imposed tougher sanctions against Russia and President Obama says he made it clear to Russia's President Vladimir Putin that a diplomatic resolution is what he prefers, but Putin will have to stop supporting violent rebels.

Today, Mr. Obama said even setting aside what happened to Flight 17, there is no way the rebels could be functioning the way they are without Russia's support. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A group of separatists can't shoot down military transport planes or they claim shoot down fighter jets without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training and that is coming from Russia.


COOPER: Joining me now is former CNN Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty and also former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, who is vice president of the Middle East and Africa, the United States Institute of Peach.

Jill, President Obama tough words for Putin today. You say he's really laying it on the line with the Russian president.

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, I think he really is. I think there is an enormous amount of frustration. The White House believes that President Putin has really been talking but not doing anything. And this is really crunch time. I mean, the president said it's time to step back and take a hard look and I think he's saying directly to Putin, enough of this already. You're the guy who can change things, now you have to do it. This is really out of control.

COOPER: Bill, Obama also said that Putin has the most control over the situation, that if he wanted the flow of fighters and weapons to stop it would, but can Vladimir Putin control the conflict or has it spirals beyond that point?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, VP FOR MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: Anderson, I think President Putin can clearly stop the flow of weapons, of people, of financing of soldiers, of intelligence agencies across the border. He has total control within Russia. He can close the boarder within a heartbeat that would starve the separatists in Ukraine. He probably has lost control of the separatists in Ukraine.

So in that respect, yes, but he has full responsibility for the flow of those weapons and the flow of that equipment and the flow of those soldiers and intelligence agents across that border and has the full responsibility for their actions.

COOPER: Jill, the secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel from the United States saying the Russians will have to take some responsibility for all of this. Do you think regardless of how this turns out, even if the evidence points clearly to the Russians, they would take any blame? I don't see any scenario where that actually happens, do you?

DOUGHERTY: It's very, very difficult, Anderson, because after all, Vladimir Putin stepping back on this and yet, it's such a horrific event and there are so many people from other countries who are involved, that the world, at least a lot of the world is up in arms about this. So what can he do?

Domestically, it's really hard because I've been watching the Russian media and they are still trying to blame it on Ukraine and the west and the United States. So for Putin in a political domestic political sense to step back and even admit some type of culpability is hard.

That said, I do think that there is a chance now that even though it's very, very serious situation that there is some chance behind the scenes to begin to really talk turkey between both countries, the United States and Russia, talking with each other behind the scenes and saying how do you pull this back.

COOPER: Ambassador Taylor, let's talk about Europe. Countries across the world lost citizens in the downing of this plane. European countries so far have really enacted minimal sanctions for Russia's bad behavior. I mean, they have a lot of Russian investment in England and elsewhere and they haven't been able to get tough against Russia. Do you think that actually changes now?

TAYLOR: I do. I think this changes dramatically. You're right. The Europeans have tried to look the other way as much as they could. They have economic interest and other interest they have been careful not to jeopardize. This damage is that whole attitude. This means that the Europeans will have to take a hard look at who is responsible. They will conclude as we have discussed that the Russians are responsible and will have to take action. The action could be following the tougher sanctions that President Obama put on two days ago, the Europeans may well have to follow that lead.

COOPER: Ambassador Taylor, appreciate you being on the program and Jill Dougherty, as well.

Just ahead tonight, he's being remembered as a visionary, giant and pioneer. What his death and the loss of other researchers on board this flight and not just researchers, HIV/AIDS activist whose really affected change over the last 20 years throughout the world, what this man's death and others could mean for the future of HIV/AIDS research and treatment in the search for a cure.


COOPER: This is of course, a global tragedy, event when you see the list of nationalities of the passengers on board this flight, 191 people from the Netherlands, 44 people from Malaysia, all the crew members from Malaysia, 27 people from Australia, European countries, 10 from the United Kingdom, 12 from Indonesia, four from Germany and the list goes on and on.

The loss of 298 people is of course immeasurable. We wish the loved ones of those who perished on Flight 17 strengthen in the difficult days ahead. A number of passengers were on their way to an international AIDS conference in Australia including a prominent HIV researcher, Joep Lange. The loss of these dedicated scientists and activists left the global health community reeling. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The health community around the world in utter shock. The International AIDS Society says a number of its members were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. They were heading to the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, Australia. Scheduled to start this Sunday.

Typically attended by thousands from all over the world and among them leading HIV experts. Their loss likely to have an impact on research, diagnosing, treating and curing the disease. Former President Bill Clinton is one of the keynote speakers of the conference. He says it's awful, sickening what happened to so many gifted people.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: They were doing so much good. This gathering, we do this on a regular basis, 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 kind of a regular part of my life thinking about those people being knocked out of the sky, it's pretty tough.

GUPTA: One of the victims, prominent Dutch scientist, Joep Lange. I met him in 2004 when he presided over the international AIDS conference in Bangkok. Those who knew him say he was a hard core scientists with the heart of an activist who worked tirelessly to get affordable AIDS drugs for HIV positive patients living poor countries. One small example of his work, he argued if Coca-Cola could get refrigerated beverages to places all over Africa, we should be able to do the same with refrigerated HIV medications.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People in his lab and on the society as a whole, it's an incredible loss. We're all just bracing ourselves to arrive and find out who else may have been on that flight, it's just unbelievable. It's not really real yet.

GUPTA: The World Health Organization tells CNN that their spokesman, Glen Thomas, was on board that doomed flight. He most recently worked with us during the coverage of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. A friend says he was a wonderful man doing great work in the world and was also planning his 50th birthday celebration. His life and so many others cut tragically short.


COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now. Beyond the tragedy for friends and family members and loved ones of the researchers and activists, I mean, the collective brain trust of these people has been lost. What kind of an impact do you think it has on a global movement to fight HIV, AIDS?

GUPTA: I think it will have a significant impact certainly in the immediate aftermath. This meeting coming up on Sunday, I can't imagine it's going to cast a real power over it. Look, Anderson, people will fill the ranks, ultimately but when you look at some of these people. Their entire professional lives was spent looking at this disease so it's impossible to download everything they were thinking about, knew about the way they put different things together.

Joep Lange who you saw in the piece, he was one of the first person to look at maternal to child transmission, if we can disrupt that cycle, look at the lives we can save. You can serve Coca-Cola refrigerated in Africa, why can't we do the same thing with HIV, AIDS medications? It was a combination of tenacity, smarts and advocacy that created people like him.

COOPER: Such a loss. Sanjay, appreciate you being with us. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll have more on the loss. We'll talk to Mark Harrington, a legendary HIV/AIDS activist in our next hour about these researchers and doctors and activists on board this plane and what it means. Stay with us for another live hour of 360.

We'll also get the latest on the downing of MH 17 from Phil Black on the ground at the crash site when we come back.