Russian President Vladimir Putin has lambasted those he claims are using the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet in eastern Ukraine for “mercenary objectives”, the Kremlin said today.
In a statement posted on the Kremlin website, Mr Putin again lashed out at Ukraine over ongoing violence with pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country.
He said the tragedy is being used for others’ “mercenary objectives”, although he did not say specifically who.
Mr Putin also said he supports a crash investigation by a “full team of experts” under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a UN agency.
Since flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine last Thursday, killing everyone on board, the US and others have blamed Moscow, which they say supplies and trains the rebels.
Mr Putin said Russia was doing everything possible to allow the team of experts from the ICAO to investigate the crash scene.
He also again criticised the Ukraine authorities in Kiev for reigniting the fighting with the pro-Russian rebels who control the site.
“We can say with confidence that if fighting in eastern Ukraine had not been renewed on June 28, this tragedy would not have happened,” he said. “Nobody should or does have a right to use this tragedy for such mercenary objectives.”
The Russian leader is coming under increasing international pressure to rein in the rebels in Ukraine.