Sunday, July 20, 2014

Russia Lays Blame for Malaysia Airlines Crash on Ukraine

President Vladimir V. Putin, right, speaks to Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev after a moment of silence for those killed in the Malaysia Airlines plane crash.CreditAlexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti Kremlin Press Service, via Associated Press
The New York Times - July 18, 2014

MOSCOW — The Kremlin and its military on Friday called the downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine the Ukrainians’s responsibility and rejected accusations that Russia was involved, with senior officials demanding a thorough, impartial international investigation.

For weeks now, Moscow has sought to blame Ukrainian military offensives for the violence in the eastern region of the country, even as it has called for peace negotiations. There was no indication that the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet late Thursday would alter that pattern.

President Vladimir V. Putin has repeatedly played the role of statesman, calling for a cease-fire while leaving the daily fray over events in Ukraine to his foreign minister or other officials. That pattern, too, held on Friday.

“Direct talks must be established between the opposing sides as soon as possible,” Mr. Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies at a meeting with the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.Continue reading the main story

“All sides to the conflict must swiftly halt fighting and begin peace negotiations,” he said. “It is with great concern and sadness that we are watching what is happening in eastern Ukraine. It’s awful, it’s a tragedy.”Continue reading the main story
Latest Updates

Developments after the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov appeared on the main state-run satellite network, Rossiya 24, to deny Russian involvement and to demand an “open, independent” investigation into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet on Thursday afternoon.

“We shall be prepared to make our contribution, but in our opinion the initiative should be taken by the authorities of the country on the territory of which the tragedy has taken place,” Mr. Lavrov said.

He dismissed accusations from the Ukrainian government that Russia was responsible. “In the last few months I have not heard practically any truthful statements from Kiev,” he said. Continue reading the main story Video

Reaction from world leaders to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash. Video CreditBy Christian Roman on Publish DateJuly 18, 2014. Image CreditMark Nolan/Getty Images

Reaction from world leaders to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash. Video CreditBy Christian Roman on Publish DateJuly 18, 2014. Image CreditMark Nolan/Getty Images

Mr. Lavrov did confirm that negotiations between the separatists and the Kiev government had started so that an international investigation team could reach the crash site. It is in territory near Donetsk that is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Mr. Lavrov said attempts to reach a truce in the embattled east were now “three or four times more important, taking into account the investigation, which should cover quite a vast territory.”

The foreign minister also said Russia would not take the so-called black box flight recorders that are said to be held by the separatist forces, saying the investigation was Ukraine’s responsibility. “We want international experts to get to the crash site as soon as possible so that they get the black boxes right away,” he said.

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