Ukrainian Embassy: Russian-backed groups behind MH17 crash
The Ukrainian Embassy in Riyadh has blamed Russian-backed terrorist groups for downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17.
Volodymyr Plachynda, chargé d’affaires at the Ukraine Embassy, told Arab News that the Ukraine government is highly concerned about subsequent spats resulting from the incident.
Major international airways, including several Gulf airlines, have either suspended flights to Ukraine, reduced their frequency or have avoided Ukrainian airspace altogether after the doomed flight was hit by a missile as it flew over the conflict zone, crashing along the Ukrainian-Russian border and killing all 298 people on board.
Like many others, passengers bound for Ukraine from Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, have since canceled their bookings.
“The president of Ukraine has reiterated that the perpetrators of this tragedy will be found and punished,” said Plachynda. “This crash has become a tragedy for Ukraine and the whole world.”
Plachynda extended the government’s condolences to the relatives of the victims of the crash.
“The Ukrainian government will take every possible step to investigate the crash and provide the victims’ relatives and loved ones with assistance,” he said.
“The government has set up a special commission to investigate the disaster and to ensure full-fledged objectivity during the probe.”
“The commission has invited experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and representatives from Malaysia, the Netherlands and US to do these victims justice.”
According to the state service for Ukrainian emergencies, Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in the Donetsk region.
The aircraft’s wreckage is located in the area, which is currently under the control of Russian-backed rebels.
“Within a few hours of the attack, Ukraine’s security service received and published undeniable evidence that the plane was taken down by pro-Russian terrorists using Russian weapons,” he said.