BEIJING, Nov 11 – Russia has pledged that it would do everything in its power to facilitate the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine in July, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said. Najib said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed that the ceasefire between the government in Kiev and the eastern Ukraine rebels must be upheld to allow the investigation team safe access to the crash site.
“We are hoping that both sides will observe the ceasefire and allow the investigation team full access to the crash site. Unfortunately, this has not happened,” Najib said. He was speaking to the Malaysian media here after having bilateral meetings with Putin and several other heads of government during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit, which ended yesterday.
The Prime Minister is departing for Myanmar to attend the Asean Summit immediately after APEC 2014. Najib said Putin had expressed sympathy to Malaysians and acknowledged that securing full access to the site is crucial in finding the cause and perpetrator of the crash. MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk on July 17, killing all 298 people onboard.
“Malaysia has always taken a very objective position. Instead of finger pointing, we would rather wait for the final investigation report to conclude what has really happened to MH17. “The interim report issued by the investigation body concluded that that was not an accident and the aircraft was brought down by a high energy object,” he said, adding that more works need to be done to identify the object as well as where was it fired and who had fired it.
“For this, we need to have complete access to the crash site so that we can reassemble the wreckage and look for the parts of the high energy object, which was probably embedded in the fuselage or parts of the aircraft. The black box that was recovered indicate that there was no technical fault of the aircraft. It was flying in normal conditions. There was no mayday call and the pilot was very competent.”
Najib said the government owed it to Malaysians and the victims’ families particularly, who were devastated after losing their loved ones, to put an end to the unfortunate chapter. He expressed hope that Russia’s assistance would help conclude the investigation sooner rather than later. “It’s strictly painful for Malaysia because we lost two planes in four months. We are hoping that we will be able to work closely with all the countries in that area,” he said.