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MOSCOW, September 10. /ITAR-TASS/. 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 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, in the zone of combat operations between the Donetsk self-defense forces and the Ukrainian army. All the passengers and crewmembers onboard the aircraft - 298 people - died. Most of the passengers - 196 people - were Dutch citizens.
“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.
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 top Russian military official also said that Ukraine failed to answer all questions from the Russian Defense Ministry concerning the Boeing crash.
“We came upon with ten simple questions, answers to which could have shed some light on the accident,” Shoigu said. “Unfortunately, we have not yet received even a single answer to them.”
Shoigu told Hishammuddin Tun Hussein that the Russian Defense Ministry was ready to assist Malaysia in the investigation of the airliner’s crash.
"We are ready to give all the necessary assistance and support to investigate the crash causes," Shoigu said.
The Russian minister once again expressed his deep condolences to all people in Malaysia over the death of people in the crash and personally to Hussein, who lost relatives in the tragic incident.
International experts from the Netherlands, Australia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) began arriving at the airliner crash site near the settlement of Gabovo, 79 km (49 miles) north of Donetsk, since July 31 in search of the missing bodies of passengers and aircraft’s remains. Before that, they had not been able to carry out their search operation for a week over incessant fighting between the local self-defense militia and pro-Kiev troops.
The search resumed after the warring sides agreed on a ceasefire around the airliner wreckage area and on a security corridor for the arrival of experts and their work at the crash site.