Well protected: Self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist 'Donetsk People's Republic' Alexander Borodai making his way to a press conference in Donetsk. - AFP
KUALA LUMPUR: Russia has pledged to assist the Malaysian government in “all possible ways” over Flight MH17’s crash in eastern Ukraine.
Russian Ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila G. Vorobyeva said her country understood Malaysia’s desire to find out what caused the “awful tragedy” to occur.
“In Russia, we sympathise deeply with Malaysia; the families and people who lost their relatives and loved ones,” she said.
Russia was appreciative of the Malaysian government’s stand on not blaming anyone but to get to the facts, Vorobyeva said.
“As such, Russia will give its cooperation to the Malaysian government fully, and we will do all we can to assist the government in these hard times,” she said after an interview with BernamaTV on the Bernama Today programme yesterday.
In the interview, Vorobyeva said for now, the Russian government was holding discussions with several parties to provide security measures at the crash site.
“We are asking the Kiev government and the leaders of this (Donetsk) region to ensure that the team of experts can reach the crash site,” she said, adding that Russian influence was limited. “The plane crashed in Ukraine territory.”
Vorobyeva pointed out, however, that the involvement of an international commission, led by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), was imperative for investigations.
Asked how Russia reacted to the blame hurled by the global community, Vorobyeva said accusations should not be made until the facts were revealed first.
“The facts could only be established through investigations done by experts – that is what Russia is asking for,” Vorobyeva said.
“Only after such investigations can any accusation be made.”
She claimed that the current internal crisis in Ukraine was a possible cause for the tragedy.
She said it was important for the rival parties in Ukraine to reach a peaceful solution.
“If the fight and the bloodshed on June 28 (between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian government forces) had been stopped, the (MH17) tragedy would have never occurred,” she said.
Vorobyeva stressed that the tragedy should not divide people, but instead unite them.
“This is in order to find a solution to prevent similar cases from recurring in the future.”
The ambassador also conveyed her condolences to the families of the crash victims, reports Bernama.
Shortly after the crash of MH17, pro-Russian separatist Igor Girkin posted on VK (VKontakte), the Russian version of Facebook: “The plane has just been taken down somewhere around Torez (Donetsk Oblast). It lays there behind the Progress mine. We did warn you – do not fly in ‘our sky’.”
He then went on record saying that “a significant number of the bodies weren’t fresh”.
Girkin is quoted as having said in the post on VK, the second largest social network service in Europe after Facebook, that the bodies were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.