MH17 crash: Putin, Merkel agree on international probe

Moscow, July 19: The leaders of Russia and Germany said Saturday that the Malaysian passenger plane crash in eastern Ukraine should be thoroughly and impartially investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

[Read: US President Obama reaches out to world leaders for impartial probe]

"Both parties emphasised the importance of a thorough and impartial investigation into all circumstances of the accident," the Kremlin press service said, citing a telephone conversation between President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The probe should be conducted by the ICAO and involve all parties concerned, it said, adding Merkel "positively" took Russia's willingness to dispatch representatives to assist with the investigation.

The two leaders said bloodshed must be stopped immediately in eastern Ukraine, and that contact group talks involving representatives from conflict-hit regions should be resumed, Xinhua reported citing the press service.

They also agreed that it "would be of fundamental importance" to implement Russia's initiative on the presence of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors at two checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed Thursday afternoon in the conflict-hit Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

298 people died after Malaysian aircraft MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine

According to reports, the indications are that the Boeing 777 crashed after being hit by a missile. US President Barack Obama said Friday that initial investigations showed that the missile was fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by anti-Kiev militants.

The Ukrainian government and insurgents in the country's east have traded accusations, with both sides claiming to have evidence.

Earlier Saturday, Ukraine's intelligence chief Valentin Nalivaichenko said the government and insurgents had agreed to form a 20-km "security zone" around the crash site to facilitate the investigation and other humanitarian obligations.

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