Kuala Lumpur: Russia has pledged support for a probe into the downing of Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine that killed 298 people on board, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak has said.
Najib said Russian President Vladimir Putin has 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 told reporters after meeting Putin and other heads of government at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in Beijing, which ended yesterday.
Najib said Putin has expressed sympathy to Malaysians and acknowledged that securing full access to the crash site was crucial.
"Malaysia has always taken an objective position. Instead of finger-pointing, we would wait for the final investigation report to conclude what had really happened to MH17.
"The interim report by the investigation body concluded that it was not an accident. The aircraft was brought down by a high-energy object," the New Straits Times quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
"We need 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 indicated that there was no technical fault in the aircraft. It was flying in normal conditions. There was no Mayday call and the pilot was competent," Najib said.
The Prime Minister also expressed hope that Russia's assistance would help conclude the investigation soon.
The Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 over eastern Ukraine in the territory controlled by Russia backed rebels, who are engaged in a separatist struggle with the government in Kiev.