Ukraine bears full responsibility for the tragedy with the Malaysian passenger jet which crashed in Ukraine less than two months ago, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.
“The accident took place in the airspace of Ukraine which is fully responsible for it,” Shoigu said at a meeting in Moscow with his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, ITAR-TASS reports.
The Russian minister added that the tragedy with the Malaysian airliner could have been avoided if Ukraine resolved its issues without the military involvement.
The Boeing 777-200 of the Malaysia Airlines en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Region, some 60 km (over 37 miles) from the Russian border. All the passengers and crewmembers onboard the aircraft – 298 people – died.
Ukraine’s government and several Western leaders say there is strong evidence that pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane with an anti-aircraft system known as Buk. Russia has consistently denied allegations that it had supplied any missiles or weapons to terrorists.
The preliminary report on the crash, published on Tuesday, said that “there are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew”. Experts from the UK, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, the US, Ukraine and Russia are collaborating on the case. The board says it expects the final report to be published within a year.
It is to be recalled thatforeign and Russian activists have repeatedly proposed to put Sergei Shoigu on the EU’s sanctions list.