Kiev/Moscow/Kuala Lumpur: A pro-Russian militia leader claimed that the black boxes of the Malaysian jetliner that crashed in Ukraine have not been found even as Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor agreed on a “thorough and impartial investigation” into the horrific tragedy.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Aleksandr Borodai, the pro-Russian rebel leader in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, denied yesterday that the black boxes of the ill-fated plane had been found. Borodai said they had not touched the site where the passenger flight crashed on Thursday but they reserved the right to begin the process of taking away the bodies since they would decompose in the heat.
“We ask the Russian Federation to help us with this problem and send their experts,” Borodai, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in the conflict-hit Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.
Various reports have indicated that the Boeing 777 crashed after being hit by a missile. US President Barack Obama said on Friday that initial investigations showed that the missile was fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by anti-Kiev militants.
Earlier yesterday, Kiev accused insurgents of destroying evidence of an international crime from the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner. “The terrorists have taken 38 bodies to the morgue in Donetsk,” the Ukrainian government said.
In Moscow, the Kremlin Press Service said that the leaders of Russia and Germany have said that the incident should be thoroughly and impartially investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). “Both parties emphasised the importance of a thorough and impartial investigation into all circumstances of the accident,” the Kremlin press service said, citing a telephone conversation between President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Meanwhile, in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that the flight path of flight MH17 was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol and used by other airlines. “It flew at an altitude set, and deemed safe, by the local air traffic control. And it never strayed into restricted airspace,” the minister said. He called for all parties to protect the integrity of the crash site and to allow the investigation to proceed.