Putin, Abbott want 'genuine' probe of MH17 crash: Kremlin

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Moscow, Nov 11: President Vladimir Putin today discussed the MH17 plane crash with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the sidelines of an APEC summit, with both leaders favouring a "genuine" probe of the tragedy, the Kremlin said.

"Both Abbott and Putin spoke in favour of a genuine investigation for the reasons for this catastrophe, speeding up this investigation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the state news agency RIA Novosti. Abbott had vowed ahead of the talks that the conversation would be "robust."

Asked if Abbott managed to "shirtfront" the Russian leader over the issue, as he had promised last month, Peskov said: "It appears that he did not try." "Shirtfront" is an Australian Rules Football term in which a player charges an opponent. 

The Malaysian Airline flight MH 17 was hit by a land to air missile, killing all its 298 passengers.  According to American intelligence sources, intelligence assembled in the five days after the crash pointed overwhelmingly to pro-Russian separatists having shot down the plane using a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from the territory which they controlled. The Russian government blamed the Ukrainian Government. The Dutch Safety Board is currently leading an investigation into the incident and issued a preliminary report on 9 September 2014; a final accident report is expected to be out  in mid-2015.

The incident has increased tension between Ukraine and Russia, each blaming the other for the crash. However, telephonic interceptions between Ukrainian militants clearly stated a misunderstanding that led to the crash.  The chiefs of various states including USA and Netherlands have urged urgent closure of the ongoing investigations.

PTI

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