Ukraine PM: Downed plane victims killed by 'Russian-led terrorists'

Posted at 07/18/14 6:27 PM

KIEV - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk condemned the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane in Ukraine's east on Friday (July 18), calling on international governments to "bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime".

The plane crashed about 40 km (25 miles) from the border with Russia near the regional capital of Donetsk, an area that is a stronghold of rebels who have been fighting Ukrainian government forces. All 298 people on board were killed.

Speaking during a conference call with Ukrainian security officials in Kiev, Yatseniuk said the crash would be investigated.

"Let me express on behalf of the Ukrainian government my deep condolences to those innocent, who were killed by Russian-led terrorists. Ukrainian government has launched a full-fledged and large scale investigation. And Ukrainian International Aviation Security Agency is to lead this investigation," he said, before using emphatic language in a call for international help.

"We ask all respective governments to participate in this investigation and to support the Ukrainian government to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime. This is the crime against humanity, all red lines have been already crossed. This is the deadline."

World leaders have been quick to demand an international investigation into the shooting down of the airliner, and Yatseniuk said the conflict now went well beyond the borders of Ukraine.

"A war against Ukraine, a war against Europe and after these terrorists shot down a Malaysian aircraft, this is the war against the world. Everyone is to be accountable and responsible. I mean everyone who supports these terrorists including Russian Federation and Russian regime. Ukrainian authorities are still not allowed to get to the crash site but, together with the security forces, we will provide the corridor and Ukrainian experts, and the international experts, will be allowed to hold a vast international investigation. Ukrainian people mourn all these innocent victims of this terrorist plot," he said.

There were no survivors from Thursday's crash, which left wreckage and bodies scattered across miles of rebel-held territory near Ukraine's border with Russia.

The scale of the disaster could prove a turning point for international pressure to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, which has killed hundreds since protests toppled the Moscow-backed president in Kiev in February and Russia annexed the Crimea a month later.