Kiev, Ukraine: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk yesterday blasted the “terrorists” he blamed for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine a day earlier, with 298 people aboard.
Indonesian Yuriah Tanzil (L), sister of Ninik Yuriani, a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, shows a photograph of her sister at the family residence in Jakarta. Pic/AFP
He called on all governments to back the investigation and “to support the Ukrainian government to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime.”
Since the Malaysia Airlines jet fell from the sky above eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Russia and Ukraine which routinely uses the word “terrorists” to describe pro-Russian separatists have traded blame and accusations.
A preliminary classified US intelligence analysis concluded in the evening that the missile that hit Flight 17 most likely was fired by pro-Russian separatists inside eastern Ukraine, according to a US defence official.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, however, pointed the finger back at Ukraine, blaming its recent tough military operations against separatists for the volatility in the region.
But Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin rejected that claim, saying it was up to Russia to stop the flow of heavy weaponry across Ukraine’s eastern border and push the separatists to embrace a cease-fire.
He also dismissed any suggestion that Ukrainian forces may have been involved in Thursday’s tragedy. “There was no way our forces could be engaged in any way in this incident,” Klimkin said. He added Ukraine intercepted telephone calls between “terrorists” at the time the plane was shot down.
'War on the world'
Yatsenyuk called for a UN Security Council meeting to be held and for all nations to do everything they could to stop what he said was not now just a war in Ukraine or Europe, but a “war against the world.”
Meanwhile, international inspectors headed to the crash site yesterday tasked with finding the plane’s flight data recorders, which may lie amid the human remains and debris strewn across fields near the town of Torez. Ukrainian government officials said 181 bodies had been found.
The latest information from Malaysia Airlines indicated that the Netherlands has suffered the harshest blow, with at least 189 of its citizens among those killed. Experts have voiced concern that the crash site has not been properly secured, making the recovery of bodies and collection of evidence difficult.
There have been conflicting reports over whether the plane’s data recorders have already been recovered by rescue workers or separatists. Ukrainian officials have suggested separatists may seek to take them to Moscow.
'Launcher in Russia'
An adviser to Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Geraschenko was quoted as saying that the missile launcher used to down the Malaysian plane is already in Russia and will be destroyed.
The “Buk” launcher, as well as the flight data recorders from MH17, were handed over to Russian agents across the border at a checkpoint in the Luhansk area overnight, Geraschenko claimed.
In an exclusive interview with a state-run channel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia would “insist on the most objective, most open and independent investigation” into what happened to Flight 17.
“We’re ready to make our own contribution, but certainly we believe the initiative must be undertaken by the authorities of the country on whose territory this tragedy occurred,” he said.
“With regard to the claims raised by Kiev, that it was almost us who did it: In fact I haven’t heard any truthful statements from Kiev over the past few months.”