Rescue workers sift through the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed yesterday
A Latvian MEP has blamed Russian 'recklessness' for the downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine that killed 298 people yesterday.
Former Latvian defense minister Artis Pabriks said Russia's geo political ambitions were to blame. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine should take responsibility for the disaster and promised a 'thorough and unbiased investigation' in to the disaster.
The flight which was bound for Kuala Lumpur was allegedly crashed after being shot down from the sky by pro Russian rebels, US and Ukrainian officials say.
''I believe that the main reason for the airplane catastrophe is Russia's geo-political ambitions and recklessness. Russia has allowed these bandits into Ukraine and they have access to sophisticated weapons,' Pabriks said.
''Now, the international community must collect as much evidence as possible about this catastrophe, as Russia's propaganda continues and it is not ruled out that an attempt will be made to cover their tracks.
The former minister also allowed the possibility that this catastrophe will push the European Union to move forward with tougher sanctions against Russia, just like the United States.
''Those within the EU who have taken a more neutral stance will have a harder time defending their position,'' he said.
If Russia's involvement in the airplane catastrophe is proved, it would leave a long-term impact on Russia's international position, furthermore, international cooperation with Russia will not be as it once was.
Pabriks also reiterated what has been said before - that the international community must assist Ukraine as much as possible, and use diplomatic and economic pressure to close the border between Ukraine and Russia. Second of all, he said that the international community must also be involved in the modernization of Ukraine's political, economic, social and military systems.
The AFP news agency reports that anger deepened around the world Friday with the United States demanding an "unimpeded" international inquiry after a Malaysian passenger jet was apparently shot down by a missile strike in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.
The ''Malaysia Airlines'' Boeing 777 came down in a cornfield in the strife-torn region on Thursday, leaving a horrific trail of carnage on the ground, with the United States claiming it was shot down in a missile attack.
Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces of the "terrorist act" as stunned world leaders called for a full investigation into the disaster, which could further fan the flames of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
Comments attributed to a pro-Russia rebel chief suggested his men may have downed ''Malaysia Airlines'' flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane.