Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to discuss the issue of the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine in 2014 with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak this week, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said on Tuesday.
“Should Malaysian representatives wish to discuss the topic of the Boeing, we certainly will also be ready to discuss it,” Ushakov said. Razak will attend an ASEAN summit in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.
On July 17, 2014, a Boeing 777 Malaysian airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine near Donetsk, a region occupied by pro-Russian militants.
All 298 passengers on MH17 perished.
In March 2015, a metal fragment from the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 matched a Russian surface-to-air BUK rocket, according to Dutch broadcaster RTLNieuws.
- Screen grab from RTLNieuws
RTLNieuws said it had the shrapnel tested by international forensic experts, including defense analyst IHS Jane’s in London, who said it matched the explosive charge of a Buk a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system.
Buk missiles are launched from trucks to engage planes and helicopters within 13 miles off the ground. A few other militaries currently use the Soviet-style Buk system including Syria, North Korea, and China.
The downing of the plane was a turning point in the conflict in Ukraine, which pits the separatists against Kiev’s forces.
Kiev and its Western supporters blamed the rebels for the incident and it stiffened the resolve of Western governments to impose sanctions against both leading separatists and Moscow.
(Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Alexander Winning)