"Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy," Obama said.
"Right now, we're working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority, and I've 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 the families of the passengers, wherever they call home."
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said earlier in the day that she couldn't yet confirm whether there were American passengers on the flight, which was reportedly shot down in eastern Ukraine.