- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Tuesday for Ukraine to observe a cease-fire while investigators probe the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held territory.

As European Union foreign ministers in Brussels debate sterner sanctions against Russia, Mr. Putin asserted that Ukrainian troops attacked separatist units near Donetsk almost at the same time the pro-Russia forces were handing over the black boxes from the MH17 crash to international investigators.

“Tanks broke through to the railway station,” Mr. Putin said at a Russian Security Council session Tuesday. “It was shelled. The international experts there could not even look out of the windows.”

President Obama and other Western leaders are urging Mr. Putin to exert his influence on the separatists to allow a thorough investigation of the crash, which killed 298 people, and to rein in the forces loyal to Moscow.

The Russian president said he will do everything he can to speed up the crash investigation.

“They call on us to exert pressure on the self-defense forces of the south-east [of Ukraine.] We’ll do everything that we are capable of,” Mr. Putin said. “Russia will do all it can to ensure a full-scale, thorough and transparent investigation.”

Separatists allowed a train carrying the bodies of most of the plane crash victims to move out of eastern Ukraine Monday, beginning the process of returning them to the Netherlands, home to a majority of the victims.



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