Under increasing pressure from international leaders Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a full investigation into the downed Malaysian airliner.
It was Putin’s first official statement on the subject:
“Everything must be done to ensure the safety of international experts on the scene… For its part, Russia will do all that it can to make the conflict in eastern Ukraine move from today’s military phase into the phase of negotiations, into the phase exclusively peaceful and diplomatic.”
Putin also said the tragedy must not be politicised.
The West suspects Russia of arming and supporting Ukraine’s separatists and as such must intervene to allow investigators access to the crash site.
Earlier US Secretary of State John Kerry had not minced his words over Russia’s attitude: “This is a moment of truth for Russia. Some of the leaders of the separatists are Russian. Russia arms these separatists, Russia trains these separatists. So I think that this is a fundamental moment of truth for Russia, for Mr Putin, they need to exert all of the influence that they have in order to protect the full integrity of this investigation.”
The UK and some other European countries have been threatening further sanctions against Russia if it fails to cooperate and ensure that the rebels send back the bodies of the victims as soon as possible.