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Diplomats decline to comment on downing of Malaysian plane

Friday, July 25, 2014    

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THE delegation of the Russian Federation in Jamaica yesterday declined to comment on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near its border with Ukraine a week ago, saying it would prefer to await the outcome of investigations before making any statements.

The delegation, headed by Ambassador Vladimir Polenov, is participating in the 20th annual session of the International Seabed Authority now underway at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

Ukraine is absent from the session, and the delegation from the Netherlands, where the flight originated, declined comment as well.

The Jamaica Observer has learned that last Friday's sitting of the Council, which was closed to the media, observed a minute of silence.

The plane crash has been mired in controversy since it happened, with both Ukraine and Russia trading blame. The Ukrainian side insists the craft was shot down by pro-Russian separatists, who in turn contend it was Government troops that carried out the act.

Flight MH17, which boarded in Amsterdam with 298 passengers and crew, was en route to Malaysia but it came crashing down about 50 km shy of the Ukrainian border with Russia.

Russia and Ukraine, formerly of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, have been at war in recent months, culminating with the Ukrainian Revolution in February and Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

— Kimone Thompson

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