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Published: Friday July 18, 2014 MYT 4:20:02 PM
Updated: Friday July 18, 2014 MYT 4:20:02 PM

Russia's Putin seeks impartial probe after plane downed

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a phone call with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, demanded a "thorough and unbiased" investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Friday.

"The head of the Russian state underlined that the tragedy yet again highlighted the need for the swiftest peaceful solution to the acute crisis in Ukraine and noted that a thorough and unbiased investigation into all the circumstances of the air catastrophe was needed," it said.

A majority of the 298 people killed on the plane on Thursday were Dutch citizens.

The Boeing 777 passenger plane came down in area near the Russian border close to the city of Donetsk, where Ukraine's army is fighting a pro-Russian separatist rebellion.

Kiev accuses pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the airliner with help from Russian intelligence representatives. Putin put the blame on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who refused to extend a shaky ceasefire with the rebels.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Denis Pinchuk and Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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