The Presidents of the United States and Ukraine, Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko, during their telephone conversation on Thursday, July 17, stressed that all evidence from the crash site of the Malaysian plane in the Donetsk Oblast must remain in place on the territory of Ukraine until international investigators have a chance to study all aspects of the tragedy, the White House press service reported.
President Poroshenko welcomed the assistance of international investigators to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation of the crash site. Obama assured him that US experts will offer all possible assistance immediately, the White House statement said.
Earlier on Thursday the pro-Russian militants in control of the area where the plane went down said the “black boxes” have been found already and would be turned over to Russia for analysis. The militants prevented Ukrainian authorities from approaching the crash site. However, representatives of the Russian TV channel LifeNews were already there, Radio Svoboda reported, July 17.
According to Radio Svoboda, social networks are reporting that militants and locals have resorted to looting at the site of the downed plane. In several previous instances when Ukrainian military aircraft were shot down by militants and fell on territories under their control, the planes were quickly torn apart for scrap metal.
Several Russian officials have already demanded that the examination of the circumstances of the tragedy be conducted in Russia. They argue that Ukraine is a member of the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee, which operates in Moscow and, in particular, investigates aviation crashes. However, international rules require that investigations of air crashes be conducted or led by the country in which they occurred
The Boeing 777 of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 295 people on board crashed on Thursday, July 17, and came down in the Donetsk Oblast near the town of Torez. There were many children among the passengers. All were killed.
The Security Service of Ukraine released intercepted phone conversations among the militants, where they discuss the downing of the plane and allegedly report on the event to a supervisor in Moscow.
The pro-Russian militants first publicly claimed they had successfully shot down what they considered to be a Ukrainian military transport plane. These claims were widely reported in Russian media. But as soon as it became evident that it was a passenger jet, the militants began to claim they were not involved and that they did not have weapons that could shoot down a plane at an altitude of 10 kilometers. At the same time, they began to delete announcements from previous days where they had bragged about possessing such powerful air defense systems.
The Russian government and pro-Kremlin media began to promote the view that the plane could have been brought down by Ukrainian armed forces. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin blamed the disaster on Ukraine, saying it was due to the government’s renewed military activity against the separatists in the east of the country. President Poroshenko claimed that is was not an incident or an accident but a terrorist act.
Translation: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda