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Obama: "First Priority" Is Determining If Americans Were On Crashed Plane

"The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why, and as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families of the passengers wherever they call home."

Posted on July 17, 2014, at 2:27 p.m. ET

Hours after the crash of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, President Obama said the "first priority" for the United States will be determining whether American passengers were aboard.

The flight, downed near the Ukraine-Russia border, carried 280 passengers and 15 crew members. The president was speaking in Delaware when he made the comments.

"Obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border," Obama said. "And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now, we are working to determine whether there were American citizens onboard. That is our first priority, and I have directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why, and as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families of the passengers wherever they call home."

Obama has been briefed on the airliner's crash; according to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Obama have already spoken about the crash.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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