Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the Malaysian airliner that crashed Thursday in Ukraine near the Russian border "apparently had been shot down."
The flight crashed Thursday with 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
Unlike President Obama, who merely offered that airliner's crash "looks like it may be a terrible tragedy" when speaking in Delaware, Biden said the plane, "Apparently had been shot down. Shot down. Not an accident. Blown out of the sky."
Biden was speaking at the annual Netroots Nation conference, the large gathering of progressive leaders and activists held in Detroit Thursday.
"A Malaysian aircraft, heading from western Europe to Kuala Lumpur as it crossed or was near the border of Ukraine and Russia...apparently..and I say apparently because we don't have all the details yet I want to be sure of what I say. Apparently had been shot down. Shot down. Not an accident. Blown out of the sky."
The vice president said he spoke for 30 minutes with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well as was "in contact" with President Obama and the White House national security team.
Biden then said if any American citizens were on board the flight, they would be the first concern of the United States, noting the administration was working "every minute" to determine wheter U.S. citizens were on the plane.
"This is truly a grave situation. Nearly 300 lives have been lost. The families need consolation and our prayers. And there are many questions that need to be answered and we'll get those answers and take the next steps accordingly."
Biden said President Poroshenko accepted help from the United States including that of experts within the National Transportation Safety Board.
"It is important to get the bottom of this sooner than later because the possible repercussions that could flow from this beyond the tragic loss of life."