Moscow blames Kiev for guiding MH17 to dangerous airspace

Moscow/Kiev, July 18: The Ukrainian authorities should be blamed for allowing a commercial jet to fly over a war-stricken territory, the Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, said on Friday.

"It is stunning in the first hand that the Ukrainian aviation authority let a commercial plane enter the airspace where fighting is raging," State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, told reporters regarding the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine 50 km from the Russian border.

He said the fact that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was guided to the airspace over the territory where heavy weapons have been used could be qualified as criminal negligence or even conspiracy, Xinhua reported.

Alexander Neradko, head of Russia's Federal Air Navigation Authority (Rosaviatsia), said the plane had been guided by the Ukrainian air traffic control before the tragedy happened.

"It was the responsibility of an air traffic control of the Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk air traffic control centre, and Ukraine was in charge of air traffic safety in that area," he said in a programme aired by Russian TV channel Rossiya 24.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that Kiev did not rule out suspending all bilateral trade with Russia.

"We should prepare for the practically complete restriction of trade with Russia in the bilateral format," Xinhua cited the Interfax news agency as quoting him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday pinned the blame on Kiev for the crash of the Malaysian Boeing 777.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777, crashed in the conflict-hit Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur Thursday, with 298 people on board, all of whom were reportedly killed.

A number of countries have prohibited national airlines to fly over eastern Ukraine after the tragedy.

The Ukrainian authorities have closed airspace in eastern Ukraine since the Malaysian flight crash, Eurocontrol, a European civil organization working for the safety of air navigation, said in a statement Thursday.


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