MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is concerned over Australian and Dutch investigators’ failure to reach the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash site due to a risky and deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine, The Australian reported Tuesday.
“There is fighting and it’s not just the separatists, it’s the Ukrainian government as well,” the Australian quoted Abbot as saying at a meeting with the Cabinet’s national security committee in Canberra.
He added that it was a “confused situation on the ground,” and that both sides made a commitment to use “their best endeavors” to make the site safe enough for the Dutch-Australian team.
“And it’s high time those commitments were honored,” Abbott said.
The international experts investigating into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane have been unable to reach the crash site as fighting continues in the region and Australian Federal Police deemed the situation too risky.
The newspaper also noted that the independence forces in eastern Ukraine “who are branded “terrorists” by the Ukrainian government for taking over towns and cities in nation’s east have twice tried to escort the unarmed investigators in a convoy to the crash site.”
On Tuesday, the deputy head of the OSCE monitoring team Alexander Hug said the group would make a third attempt.
“There is a job to be done,” Hug was quoted as saying. “We are sick and tired of being interrupted by gunfights, despite the fact that we have agreed that there should be a ceasefire.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday that Russia is ready to discuss granting foreign police officers access to the crash site, but Kiev authorities should first stop its military operation in the area.
“We are ready to discuss key issues precisely and actively, so that the [mission's] activities are acceptable for everyone," Ryabkov told Rossiya Segodnya on Monday.
The main obstacle in the way of organizing such a mission is “the reluctance of Kiev authorities to secure a ceasefire and more importantly to launch a genuine and inclusive dialogue with the self-defense forces, with the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk,” Ryabkov stressed.
A total of 298 people, including 85 children and 15 crew members, died on July 17 as Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine.
The cause of the catastrophe remains unclear and an investigation into the circumstances is still underway.