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Malaysian Airliner Shot Down; Ukraine's Response to MH17; Diplomatic Fallout; At the Crash Site; Airspace Restrictions Over Ukraine; Investigating MH17; Israel-Gaza Conflict; Remembering the Victims of MH17

Aired July 18, 2014 - 16:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, HOST: "An outrage of unspeakable proportions." The words of President Barack Obama describing the Malaysian Airline flight

shot down over eastern Ukraine, 298 people were killed, human remains and aircraft debris now rest over a crash site miles wide. I'm Richard Quest

in New York.

Good evening to you. It is a special edition of the program tonight. The United States' president pulled no punches as he addressed the world,

condemning the act and Russia, the country he says is fueling the conflict in Ukraine.

Nearly 300 men, women, and many children from at least 10 different nations were killed when MH17 came down on Thursday. US intelligence

sources have told CNN they believe Russia supplied the missile launcher used to shoot down the 777.

And on the ground, European investigators say there is no sign of the plane's flight recorders. They've been able to gain access to the crash

site, but in one investigator's words, it is by no means secure.

Earlier, Ukrainian officials released what they say is an intercepted call between pro-Russian rebels operating in east Ukraine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, we are 100 percent certain that it was a civilian plane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are there a lot of people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): (Expletive deleted)! The debris was falling straight into the yards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What plane is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): 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 remains of internal brackets, chairs, bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are there any weapons?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Nothing at all. Civilian belongings, medical scraps, towels, toilet paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are there any documents?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes. One belonging to a student from Indonesia. From Thompson University.


QUEST: Ukraine's prime minister says he blames what he calls terrorists for shooting down MH17 and has called for support from the

international community. Joining me now live from Kiev is Ukraine's economy minister, Pavlo Sheremeta.

Minister, we thank you for joining us this evening from Kiev. We have a straightforward situation. Ukraine says Russian-backed separatists did

it with missiles from Russia, and Russia says Ukraine is responsible for fermenting the dissent. Who should we believe and why?

PAVLO SHEREMETA, UKRAINIAN ECONOMY MINISTER: Well, Richard, I think that the situation is quite clear here. It's the territory which is

controlled by Russian rebels. It's the weaponry which is supplied by Russia. These are the first findings of the investigation. And of course

the investigation is yet to continue and give conclusive evidence soon.

QUEST: Are you prepared to negotiate some form of cease-fire with the separatists who hold the territory so that full-scale investigators can go

in there?

SHEREMETA: I think this should come without any kind of negotiations. I think that the forces that control that piece of the territory should

fully allow the full access for the international investigation. No questions should be asked.

And for God's sake, this is the obligation with a tragedy on that scale. What kind of negotiations should be done? I think it's any normal

human being should understand that with so many lives lost, we should have a total truth what really happened there.

QUEST: Right, but they will say that as long as there is the possibility of hostilities, however inhumane this may be, they would still

look to Ukraine for an undertaking of a cessation of hostilities. Would you give it?

SHEREMETA: Richard, I visited Donetsk region in late March. This was my first trip when I became the minister. And it was peaceful and quite

spring city. It's just hard to believe that this war is going on at this scale, which leads me to the conclusion that it's totally instigated,

supported by foreign forces and weaponry. The war that wouldn't be done without this support at all.

QUEST: On the question of the investigation, Ukraine has claimed and said it will host -- it will hold the investigation under the international

ICAO treaties, of which you will be aware. How will you do this in a region which you don't control, and when even the US president is calling

for international involvement?

SHEREMETA: Well, I guess that in this case, we do need international involvement. Again, with the tragedy on a global scale, with so many

nations, unfortunately, involved, we need to have international guarantees, we need to have OSCE support and monitoring in this case, because we need

to find the total truth in this case, which will be certified and monitored by the fully-competent international field team of observers and


QUEST: Would Ukraine let a group of international investigators take the lead into this investigation? In other words, would the country

Ukraine step aside and let, say, the French, the Germans, the British, the Americans, put together a coalition to investigate this?

SHEREMETA: Well, look. We'd join any kind of coalition. If the international bodies would feel comfortable with this or that format, let

them decide. The point is that we need to have international assurance and international comfort in the conclusions done by the investigation team.

QUEST: And you accept -- if I follow your argument and your logic correctly, Minister -- you accept that if it's a purely Ukrainian

investigation, the perception, whatever the reality, the perception is that would not be independence sufficient.

SHEREMETA: Well, look. Again, we are dealing with an international disaster, unfortunately. Obviously, we have a Malaysian airline coming

from Amsterdam with so many nationals, foreign nationals. Many nations involved being onboard. So, there is no doubt that it should be

international -- competent international professional investigation of this crash.

QUEST: Right. A couple more issues, Minister. Do you have any evidence -- do you have any information you can tell us on whether the

black boxes have been recovered by separatists or others and where they might be?

SHEREMETA: I just learned from the minister of foreign affairs, my colleague in the government, that he said that the black boxes are in


QUEST: So, you have the black boxes?

SHEREMETA: They are on the Ukrainian territory. It's -- I don't know whether we have it or the international team has it, but --

QUEST: Whoa. Whoa.

SHEREMETA: -- at any moment, the information that I have from the minister, it's on the Ukrainian territory.

QUEST: Right, but I'm just clarifying, because this is new information, Minister, and we want to make sure we get it absolutely right.

Are you telling me this evening that the black boxes have been located and are either in Ukrainian or in international custody at the moment?

SHEREMETA: Richard, I have to be careful here with exact wording, because I don't have the exact information about location of the black

boxes. I just followed the minister's interview that he gave some, maybe less than an hour ago to the Ukrainian station where he said that black

boxes are on the Ukrainian territory. That's what I have, that's what I'm reporting to you.

QUEST: I understand that, Minister. You have a -- besides the awfulness of being involved as a Ukrainian and having to witness your

country going through this, you have a very personal relationship, of course, with Malaysia as well from a previous existence, if you'll forgive

the phrase, as an advisor to the Malaysian government. So, Minister, with respect to yourself and your feelings, you must be really feeling this in

many ways, many different ways.

SHEREMETA: Thank you, Richard, for that question. I was really shocked and devastated from the moment I learned about this terrible

disaster. Malaysia is almost like a second home to me and my family. We did spend more than three years there in Kuala Lumpur. And actually, that

flight, Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, we took a number of times.

I was so happy with my family to come back to Ukraine and apply the experience that I have seen in Malaysia. I have many friends in Malaysia.

Of course, I have to answer today to many e-mails and social media messages telling them as much as I know.

I also exchanged the correspondence with the Malaysian ambassador, my friend her in Kiev, pledging whatever support that we can do to ensure the

complete investigation of this tragedy, and whatever other support that our Malaysian friends need, the Ukrainian government will be delivering, of


QUEST: Minister, thank you. And if you have more information on those black boxes, sir, thank you, we look forward to receiving it. I

appreciate that, thank you, sir. The minister -- the economy minister, joining me from Kiev.

President Obama, he called the downing of the plane a wakeup call to European leaders. Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is in

Washington. Jim, good to see you this evening. When I listened to President Obama, "outrage of unspeakable proportions" --


QUEST: -- the president left no doubt his horror of this. But the question is, Jim, what does he do, and how does he lead a coalition to do


ACOSTA: I think that's the question of the hour, Richard. And I think what you saw today was the president acting as prosecutor, sort of

carefully beginning to lay out the case against not just the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, but against Moscow.

And so, that is where this White House is right now. They've been emphasizing to me privately that they want to be very careful, very

cautious, they don't want to come out and indict Vladimir Putin and indict the Russians for this plane crash, but they do want to methodically put

together this information, put together the evidence that they need to move forward.

And that is why the president said today he's dispatching the NTSB, the National Transportation Safety Board, and FBI agents to Ukraine and

ultimately to the crash site to try to preserve that evidence there.

There are growing fears inside this administration that that evidence is disappearing, that international monitors may be blocked from the site.

And that's very bad news, because ultimately, Richard, in the smoldering wreckage of that crash in Ukraine may be the smoking gun that this White

House needs to really start putting -- applying international pressure on Vladimir Putin.

As you know, Richard, the Europeans have been very reluctant to go as strongly in the direction of sanctions as the Obama administration. And

so, this may change that entire calculus.

QUEST: Jim, thank you. Jim Acosta, forgive me, keeping it brief, there, Jim. I just need to go immediately to Phil Black, who is now live

at the crash site. Phil, good evening to you, Phil. First of all, make sure you can hear me. Can you hear me, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, I've got you, Richard.

QUEST: All right. I can imagine -- why don't you tell me where you are and what you can see and what's happening, and we can take it from


BLACK: Yes, sure, Richard. We've driven into Donetsk, we're near a town called Hrabove. It's very late here. It's taken us some hours to get

through the territory, it's a very remote area. Pitch black, really. Effectively standing in the middle of a road surrounded by a field.

As I speak to you now, I am staring right at what can only be a very large piece of the downed 777, a very large piece of the fuselage. There's

extensive wreckage surrounding it as well -- personal effects, it's really quite impressive to see, even in this very limited light. As I say, late

at night here, about 11:00 PM local time.

And very close to this location, throughout this field, we can also see at this time, in this limited light, those who did not survive this

catastrophic event. There are bodies here, not yet collected. Some of them, the locations have clearly been marked, but they're around.

And we are witnessing the beginning of a recovery effort to try and gather those bodies, or as I say, at least map them out, work out where

they are, by some local officials here. But it is pretty small scale, I've got to say, compared to the scale of the disaster and the evidence that we

can see --

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: -- around us tonight, Richard.

QUEST: Phil, let's take this piece by piece, if we may, and bit by bit of the story. Is there any -- authority, is there any obviously people

securing the site? Any forces of any sort that you might expect trying to keep people, like yourself, from getting there?

BLACK: No. I mean, we've been allowed to walk right up to it. And we are walking amongst it, which I can imagine from the point of view of a

flight investigator would probably be quite a horrific notion, I guess. We're doing our best not to disturb the site.

There is a small official team here, and from what I'm told, these people work for the local Donetsk administration. These are local

emergency workers. They're beginning this recovery effort, if you like. But that's it. As I say, small numbers. They've set up some tents,

they've started to map out and mark the locations of some of the bodies.

But no, it is not -- there's no exclusion area as such. I don't see, because of the light (inaudible) just how vast the area is that the

wreckage is spread over, but we've been told by people who have seen it, notably the European observes who visited earlier today, that it is a wide



BLACK: So, obviously, a large job. But at the moment, as I say, not a big effort to try and actually begin to come to terms with this, and it's

local authorities, not the central government in Kiev. And the reason for that, of course is because --

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: -- this is territory that is occupied by those pro-Russian rebels, and it's all about access. And at the moment, international teams,

teams from Kiev, they just do not have access to this site.

QUEST: All right. Phil, now, the Ukrainian economy minister just said to me on the program a moment ago that the black boxes were in

Ukrainian territory, on Ukrainian soil. He wouldn't say who's got them. He wouldn't tell me any more details than that. At some point -- since

you've just go there, I shouldn't image you know anything about that, but at some point, we'd like to know if you can find out more about that.

BLACK: Indeed, and it is the key question, and there have been various reports through the day about whether or not those voice and flight

data recorders had been recovered, that perhaps the rebels had found them, perhaps even reports that they were being transferred to Russia, all rumor.

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: This is very difficult to substantiate. But, indeed, it is an important point, and one we will be pursuing.

QUEST: Phil, finally, I would like to give you the opportunity just as we finish just to give me your thoughts and your immediate emotion.

Visiting a crash site is horrific. An airline crash site is in a different league. Take a second or two just to tell me that, your thought.

BLACK: Yes, it is pretty powerful, there's no doubt about that. The first thing we noticed as we approached the site was the smell, I guess.

It's difficult to describe. It is actually -- there is a quality to the air here at the moment that clearly speaks to some major disaster.

And when we first came across that large piece of fuselage, really, right next to this remote, almost dirt road, it's just such a striking

sight, indeed. And then, of course, within moments of that, once we've stopped the vehicle, we began to appreciate immediately the human cost.

And it's what we've all been talking about for the last 24 hours, that is those who lost their lives here. Because they're still here. They can

still be seen. And even here, on what is almost a moonless night, very thick cloud cover, no starlight whatsoever, there is evidence of that all

around us.

And we're only now just beginning to see it, and I think that's going to become even more profound, even more powerful as the sun begins to rise

here in the next few hours and we begin to really get a sense of the scale of the accident, the pieces of which lie all around us in the field --

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: -- here in this remote corner of Ukraine, Richard.

QUEST: Phil Black. Phil, when daylight arrives, say a prayer. Say a prayer for me as well, please. There. We'll be back in just a moment.

Good evening.


QUEST: Now, there are lots of questions about the route that was taken by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Airlines have been avoiding the

airspace over eastern Ukraine, and particularly down here towards the Crimea, where there are all sorts of restrictions and, indeed, in eastern

Ukraine, there have been height restrictions since the fighting broke out. Now, as of right now, Ukraine has closed this airspace around here

completely. Crimea still remains a restricted area again.

On the ground, leaders have been calling for a thorough and impartial investigation, and the reality is far different. There are reports of some

people looting, some people tampering with the evidence. We just don't know at the moment.

Monitors from the organization OSCE say they do not have sufficient access to the site. The investigators need access. Come and have a look

and see over here.

This is what we're talking about, the approximate area. Now that, of course, is the main area of where we are. It is a large area. This was

prior, of course -- this was prior to the area.

Several miles or kilometers in diameter, and they're going to be looking for the flight data recorders, for any warnings, anything that they

may have had. They're going to be looking for pieces of the plane, explosive residue, and all sorts of things like that. Let's join Mary

Schiavo, who's with me. Good to see you, Mary.


QUEST: Nice -- thank you for being with us.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

QUEST: The former inspector general at the US National Transportation Safety Board. The -- first of all, we need to acquire the black boxes.


QUEST: The economy minister -- you were listening.

SCHIAVO: I was listening. Boy, that could be, really, a potentially wonderful break. Not that they will need them to solved what happened. I

think people are going to figure out and the investigators are going to figure out in a very short time what happened.

So, they won't become a political football, as they have in other accidents, if they stay in Ukraine. And the minister also said that they

would consider an international investigation team. They've got the black boxes, they'd have the international team. The investigation wouldn't be

compromised, it would have credibility. And I think that's very important.

QUEST: And one would imagine it would be one of the more developed countries -- the UK, France, the US -- that would have to take the black

boxes, because it's a --


QUEST: -- it's a complicated business.


QUEST: You don't just open it up and plug it into your USB port.

SCHIAVO: That's right. And if you do it that way, you could very well ruin the data. And there are several invested -- the BEA, the NTSB,

the AAIB, the British authorities. There are several countries that can do it. Canada, Transport Canada. But you can't just open it up, like you

say. That's about it on the countries that can do it.

QUEST: Do you think credibility and transparency is justified and is -- that standard is met if the Ukrainians run the investigation with

international cooperation? Or do you think it actually has to be handed over to international supervision?

SCHIAVO: I think most likely they're going to have to hand it over for several reasons. One, because it's -- there's going to be constant

attacks from Russian on the credibility. Like I say, the biggest football, if they have the black boxes, will solve that.

But I do think that, perhaps, the model might be, looking back at 370, where they had to give it over to the Australians to do a credible

investigation, search for the plane. And I think that a true international group, not just Ukraine getting assistance --

QUEST: Right.

SCHIAVO: -- from the international, I think it has to be a true international group. And then I think they can do a credible

investigation, sure.

QUEST: Should that plane have been flying on that route yesterday?

SCHIAVO: Well --

QUEST: I mean --

SCHIAVO: -- in retrospect, no. Was it legal to do it? Sure. But when we hear about the numbers of shoot-downs before, you have to ask, why

did -- now, the airline was where it could be legally, but you have to ask why did not the -- why did not Ukraine take a look at this? Why did not

the whole EU take a look at this? And they didn't.

And so, immediately after something happens, then they put the remedial measures into place. But with so many shoot-downs there, and with

information that they did have this capability with these missiles --

QUEST: Right.

SCHIAVO: There's conflicting stories, but at least at some point, somebody believed they had it. No, they should have issued warnings before

then. But the airline was flying a legal route, but the warnings should have been issued before then.

QUEST: Good to see you, as always. Thank you.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

QUEST: Thank you very much. And so to the numbers. It's difficult to even say it: 298 people onboard one plane, their lives tragically cut

short. We will look at the innocent lives lost when we return.


QUEST: These are pictures coming to us tonight from Gaza, where the Israeli -- operation, the ground force operation continues. What you're

looking at, of course, is Israeli missiles going from Israel into Gaza. Those are flares that we're witnessing at the moment, that are sent up to

light up the night sky.

In the last few hours, we have heard several reports of missiles from the Israeli side going into Gaza. We already know that several people were

killed in yesterday's operations. Israel maintains it is not attempting to retake Gaza or reoccupy Gaza. It is trying to clear out Hamas militants

and Hamas terrorists, who they say are responsible for missiles being fired into Israel.

And so to the other main story that is dominating our coverage around the world. The crashed aircraft, which is the global catastrophe.

Two hundred and ninety-eight souls lost their lives on MH17. They are the men, the woman, and the many children, including infants, and they came

from ten countries across the world.

Karlijn Keijzer's life was cut short. The 25-year-old Dutch student was studying chemistry in the United States. She was a champion rower, and

tonight, the country mourns the loss of this young woman, as well as dozens of her countrymen. There were more from the Netherlands, nearly 200, more

than half were Dutch.

Twenty-eight Australians perished. Among them, this cherished teacher. This is Sister Philomene Tiernan. She's a Roman Catholic nun who

was 77 years old.

The downing of MH17 is a major international incident, of that we can all agree. By all accounts, it seems to be the most heinous of crimes. We

can put that to one side for the seconds. For the relatives of those killed, it's a tragic lost. It's left a feeling of emptiness and despair.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A candlelight vigil in Australia for the passengers of Malaysia Flight 17.

Many on the doomed plane were headed to Melbourne for an international AIDS conference.

CLIVE ASPIN, AIDS RESEARCHER: People have been devastated. This is just a terrible, terrible blow to the whole HIV movement.

PLEITGEN: Among those lost, Joep Lange, considered a giant in AIDS research. Colleagues called him a tireless advocate and a pioneer in his


MARIA EKSTRAND, DOCTOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO: It's going to be a huge impact, both on people who worked closely with him,

people in his lab, and on the society as a whole. It's an incredible loss.

PLEITGEN: In Geneva, staff at the UN and the World Health Organization held a minute of silence for one of their own. Glenneth

Thomas, who worked for the WHO, was also on his way to the conference in Australia. Friends say the 49-year-old had a big heart and infectious

smile and laugh. Gina Manola says she missed Thomas during a recent trip to Chicago.

GINA MANOLA, KNEW MH17 PASSENGER (via telephone): You always think you have plenty of time, and I told him I was sorry that I couldn't make

it. And he said don't worry, I'll be back again. And -- I'm really sorry that I did not get to see him then. He was a wonderful person doing great

work in the world, and it's just an absolute tragedy.

PLEITGEN: In Malaysia, family members gathered at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, looking for any news of their loved ones. Many could not hold back

their emotions.


PLEITGEN: A friend of one of the flight attendants says they'd only spoken days ago.

CARLMEN LOW KAR MARN, FRIEND OF FLIGHT ATTENDANT ON MH17 (via telephone): Actually, the other day, she just told me that she didn't have

a transport, and then she said that, is it all right for you to come and pick me up?

I said, yes, why not? I just sent her to the airport. And then I just said that I will wait for you to come back. And now she'll not come



PLEITGEN: Twenty-five-year-old Karlijn Keijzer was a doctoral student at Indian University and a member of the women's rowing team.

Meanwhile, a daughter in Australia fought back tears, remembering her parents, Doctors Roger and Jill Guard.

AMANDA KOOPMAN, DAUGHTER OF MH17 PASSENGERS: Dear Mama, we love you. And Dad, we love you so much. We're going to miss you so much. And they

really wanted to see their little granddaughter walking when they came home tonight.

PLEITGEN: And an especially cruel loss for another family from Australia. Nick Norris and his three young grandchildren were all onboard

Flight 17. Norris's nephew says he's trying to focus on the good memories.

MATT JONES, FAMILY MEMBER OF MH17 PASSENGERS: Nick himself was an inspirational hero to so many people. He was a real storyteller and a

natural leader. And my memories of him are very fond. He provided a great role model for me.

PLEITGEN: All told, 298 lives lost and grief felt around the world.





QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. This is CNN, and of course, on this network the news always comes first. Ukraine's economy minister says the

black box from Malaysia Airlines flight 17 is on Ukrainian soil. Speaking to me a few moments ago, Pavlo Sheremeta, said this was the latest

information he had from the minister of foreign affairs. He couldn't confirm the exact location of the data recorders or who has possession of

them. International reaction to the downing of the jet has been swift. President Barack Obama called it "an outrage of unspeakable proportions."

He scolded Russia for training and equipping rebels operating in the Eastern Ukraine.

The other major story in the world tonight, Israeli soldiers continuing their push into Gaza on Friday. A minute ago it was announced the U.N.

Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon will travel to the region tomorrow where he'll meet with the Israelis and Palestinians and hope to bring an end to

this hostile chapter in the conflict.

Northern Vietnam and Southeast China are bracing for Typhoon Rammasun - heavy wind, high surf and pounding rain have pummeled the Chinese island

province of Hainan. The storm is no longer a super typhoon. CNN forecasters say it will hit the mainland shortly with winds up to 230

kilometers an hour. And so we continue our coverage of MH 17 and what happened, and in this

part of the program, I very much want to look at why the plane was flying where it was and should that have been a matter of concern. Come on in.

This is our safety analyst and expert. So, we know that Crimea was already off limits.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It was blocked out, yes.

QUEST: It was blocked out. But should the planes have continued to take that route over Eastern Ukraine? Talk me through it.

SOUCIE: Yes, this time, Richard, remember this is completely blocked out all the way up to 66,000 feet now over here. Now, the other question

is why was this not protected? Why was it not NOTAM-ed? Why wasn't it issued a NOTAM. The Ukrainian aviation authorities - why did they not

issue that? Well, because they felt it was safe. And now did this airplane come some place it shouldn't? Certainly not. This was open for

them to go fly to. In fact, aircraft have been flying this way all the time. But typically they'll take a little bit more southernly - southerly

route, but what happened here is that there was some weather coming in here. So when - as the aircraft -

QUEST: Right.

SOUCIE: -- is flying in, they'd chosen to go a little further north than normal.

QUEST: Which arguably was to be a more safe route than what was down here in Crimea --

SOUCIE: Certainly.

QUEST: -- this vast area. There were still planes yesterday and that were still flying over Crimea. Do we understand how this is happening?

SOUCIE: Well, partly what's happening here with Crimea is they're staying north of Crimea, but there are some that are flying over it --

QUEST: How are they doing that?

SOUCIE: -- I really have no explanation for that. They really should not be doing that. They're flying - they're making the decision and that

choice. This is not only an advisory, it's a block. That aircraft should not be flying over the top of that blocked area.

QUEST: The magnitude of what we are looking at here is simply beyond - almost beyond - words. But over here when we look at the - where the

incident took place - where the missiles. Should - was it reasonable to - these missiles - to have known that somebody had these missiles after these

recent weeks?

SOUCIE: Well, certainly the military in the Ukraine and the military in Russia knew that this was a place where these aircraft are flying. They

know that. What I'm worried about and what I think happened here is that the insurgents did not know. Even in the voice recordings that we have of

them when they say, 'Why were they flying over - this is a war zone - why are they flying over us right here?'

QUEST: A blunt question for a straight answer, David. Should Eurocontrol and the Ukrainians have stopped air traffic over Eastern

Ukraine long before now?

SOUCIE: Just a week ago - a couple of weeks ago, an aircraft was shot down from 21,000 feet. Their response to that was to say now at 36,000 -

32,000 feet - you're OK, you're safe there. That's not true. They knew at that time that this material - that these missiles were available and could

be used in this war-torn area. Certainly this should have been blocked at that point. In my estimation, it should have been blocked. They're not

flying over this area now - it's blocked now. But it's always in hindsight.

QUEST: I looking at this - they go out today. They all went right the way down over the Black Sea or right the way over towards Russia.

SOUCIE: That's the way it should've been before this airplane went here.

QUEST: David, thank you very much, --

SOUCIE: Thank you, Richard.

QUEST: -- also thank you in joining me now. Now, to put some perspective into this. Earlier we spoke to the economy minister of

Ukraine. He was quite clear when I asked him about the black box. The rumor all day has been that they've been found by the rebel separatists and

were on their way to Russia. He said not.


PAVLO SHEREMETA, UKRAINIAN ECONOMY MINISTER: They are on the Ukrainian territory. It's - I don't know whether we have it or the

international team has it, but at the moment - the information that I have from the minister, it's on the Ukrainian territory.


QUEST: That's the Ukrainian minister talking to me just a short while ago. Among those who perished were top researchers fighting for a cure for

AIDS, on their way to Melbourne for the conference. We'll talk about that in a moment. This is CNN.



JOE MAILE, SPOKESPERSON, SOUTH AFRICAN HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Our people on the plane who were traveling to this conference wanted to do something

about HIV and AIDS.

TREVOR STRATTON, AIDS ADVOCATE: What if the cure for AIDS was on that plane? Really, we don't know.


QUEST: Now that truly puts it into perspective. The reactions to the deaths of several top AIDS researchers who were aboard flight MH17. They

were traveling to Australia for one of the regular conferences on HIV/AIDS. President Obama expressed his gratitude for their work.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this world today, we shouldn't forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are

people like these, people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed, people are focused on how they can help people that

they've never met, people who define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common.


QUEST: Saima Mohsin is at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam where obviously there have been painful scenes. It was from Schiphol that the

aircraft departed yesterday. And we know of course that more than half those people onboard were of Dutch origin and Dutch nationality. So,

Saima, it must be very, very difficult.

SAIMA MOHSIN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR CNN: Yes, we've seen some really moving scenes here today, Richard. Just outside the entrance

to the airport here at Schiphol, a check-in 29 where a lot of those passengers checked in to board flight MH17. People laying flowers, paying

tribute, a condolence book was set up as well. I -- earlier today I spoke to a lot of the members and staff on the airport who've been coming out who

said that they'd met people who were boarding that plane. A customs officer, a very young woman, she was in tears as she lay her flowers

saying, 'You know, I just spoke to those people and it's hard to imagine that four hours later, they were gone.' But at the same time, of course, a

strange juxtaposition is the airport having to go about its business as normal. It is of course summertime and this is a very busy airport,


QUEST: And that - you elegantly put exactly the awfulness of what's took place because the people onboard that plane were holiday-makers in the

main. Holiday-makers, a number of children onboard, the infants onboard. The debris - the treasures of their lives that we're seeing from the

pictures. They were going for holidays.

MOHSIN: Yes, and that's been interesting to watch today here as people have kind of reacted and moved, and we've seen people, you know, --

as we say - getting on with their lives, boarding those flights that are traveling to - around the world. And of course that's what struck us today

when Malaysia Airlines officials held that press conference today and announced all the nationalities when they'd finally whittled it down. And

this evening again I spoke to senior Malaysian officials who told me that the final four passengers that were yet to be identified have been

identified, taking that number up to the maximum number being from the Netherlands.

And it's just extraordinary how many countries and how many people from around the world have been impacted. And of course Malaysia Airlines, not

the first time they're facing a tragedy like this, Richard.

QUEST: I feel the same. Saima joining us from Schiphol this evening. As the world comes to grips with what happened in Ukraine, well the

conflicts between Israel and Gaza has grown bloodier and more complicated. We will be live in the region in a moment.


QUEST: Israeli tanks and soldiers continued their invasion into Gaza on Friday. They're back by aerial and naval support. The Israeli Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Israel is prepared to expand its offensive against Hamas. He did not explain what actions to which that

would lead. The United Nations now says the escalation in the conflicts doubled the number of displaced Palestinians to 40,000. Officials say that

at least 271 people have been killed since this latest round of violence began. Karl Penhaul joins us live. He's in Gaza tonight. I think we need

to begin with a summary, Carl, of the situation. How much ordinance are you seeing coming in from Israel tonight?

KARL PENHAUL, REPORTER FOR CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well there is certainly a major assault ongoing right now, Richard, particularly over my shoulder.

That is Gaza eastern border with Israel, and that's where we've heard most of the action tonight. Periodically through the course of the evening,

we've seen a lot of illumination rounds going up over that densely- populated area of eastern Gaza and over the border area. That seems to indicate to us that there is some kind of Israeli infantry movement on the

ground. We believe that the Israelis are moving boots on the ground through those areas and possibly using artillery, maybe even the tanks that

they have arrayed along that border to destroy militant targets, possibly even some of those tunnels as they try to move in and occupy certain areas.

We're also hearing reports up on the northeastern border between Gaza and Israel. Again, Israeli tanks according to residents have come across into

neighborhoods there. We're having one report from the Palestinian Health Ministry that at least six members of a single family were killed when

their home was fired upon, and that really does create this worrying picture. Yes, of course we understand that Israeli troops are fighting

with Hamas militants, militants of Islamic Jihad as well, and Hamas say that they are trying to fight Israeli soldiers on the ground and even just

a short while ago we heard a broadcast message from one of the spokesmen of the al-Qassam Brigades - the militant wing of - the military wing of Hamas

- saying that they were also trying to arm the youth of Gaza in his -

QUEST: Right -

PENHAUL: -- that could be some rhetoric, but certainly a sign that Hamas wants to spread this fight.

QUEST: Karl, the U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon is on his way or will be in the next 24 hours to the region to try and broker some sort of

ceasefire. How will he do it? It seems quixotic at best - a noble cause, but one that doesn't seem likely to succeed.

PENHAUL: Right now what it looks like here on the ground, Richard is that both sides have set themselves up for a fight. Both sides want to

fight. The Israeli military on the one hand want to come into the Gaza Strip to try and break down Hamas weapons capability. They want to draw it

- destroy - tunnels that Hamas militants have been using to burrow into Israel to carry out attacks. They want to destroy their rocket launchers

and destroy their arsenals. Hamas, on the other side, even tonight was saying that they believe they will have greater stamina in this fight

against Israel. But their endgame is a political and social endgame if we believe that the conditions they're trying to set - they're trying to open

up Gaza's borders for a better free flow of goods and services and also people trying to improve conditions for Gaza and that means that the U.N.

will have a difficult task on its hands to broker a ceasefire.

QUEST: An honest assessment there, Karl. Thank you but what a terrifying prospect as the two sides bed down for a longer battle. Thank

you. Karl Penhaul tonight, be safe in Gaza. Now another story to bring to your attention that you will need to know

about. The first red-level warning typhoon of the year is bearing down on Southern China after striking the Philippines and causing 64 deaths.

Typhoon Rammasun has regained strength but was down rated from super typhoon status after making landfall on Hainan Island. Still, the storm

remains incredibly powerful and dangerous. Shipping and flights have been canceled in anticipation of its approach. For more, we go to Karen

Maginnis - good to see you, Karen, - at the CNN World Weather Center. Where is and how bad is it going to get?

KAREN MAGINNIS, METEOROLOGIST FOR CNN: It is going to be perhaps the strongest typhoon that has made landfall - not once, but perhaps three

times in China. One being across Hainan Island, the other near Leizhou and then right along the border between Vietnam and China. This is kind of a

broad view across the Pacific Basin. There you can see some of the winds just kind of funneling a lot of that tropical moisture into this system.

The eye is looking a little more ragged. It had been at super typhoon intensity. Now it's not at super typhoon intensity, but it's still going

to be a remarkable system as it continues to hug this southeastern coast of China right in line as we kind of take the bull's-eye in - along that

northeastern coast of Vietnam, and the extreme southeastern coast of China. There you can see the eye looking a little ragged because of the

interaction with the coastline across that extreme northern Gulf of Tonkin.

As we go into the next 48 hours, I wouldn't really say that this is going to be the only areas that are going to be impacted. Where you see this red

and the purple where the heaviest rainfall is anticipated - 25/30 centimeters possible on already-saturated ground because of the mayou (ph)

Baiu front. And we've seen the flooding rain here over the last few months. In the next several days, it's just going to wring itself out. In

fact, probably within the next 36 to 48 hours, we're not going to see anything resembling what used to be Super Typhoon, now Strong Typhoon


And you can see a broad area of wet weather, the first impact is going to be that storm surge - that in combination with the wind. The wind is going

to drive that water up along some of these low-lying coastal areas. So it makes landfall now roughly eight to 12 hours from now. I would split the

difference and say about 10 hours from now, and as we go into 24 hours, it'll have still some tropical storm characteristics associated with it.

But then it weakens very, very dramatically. So, we'll just see some remnants just kind of fluttering around some of these higher peaks and

eventually wash out. But the impacts are going to be outstanding. We will see great loss of

life, quite a bit of damage. This would essentially at the National Hurricane Center be a category 4. That means it has supporting winds right

now of 230 kilometers per hour. It had had stronger winds up to 250 kilometers per hour. Here's the impacts that we're expecting. I mentioned

the flooding and the wind - they go hand-in-hand. That wind pushes the water onshore. There's the storm surge, could see an isolated tornado,

but, Richard, we'll continue to bring updates throughout the evening and early morning hours. Back to you.

QUEST: We thank you for that. Keep us informed, please. And we'll be back in just a moment.


QUEST: Tonight, a final moment. There really isn't much more that we can say about Malaysia MH17. It's probably far better that we have a

moment of quiet reflection and think on the words of President Obama. Goodnight.