President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Prime Minister. Good afternoon, friends and colleagues.
First of all, colleagues, I want to express once again my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the entire friendly nation of Malaysia following the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine on July 17.
Russia, like Malaysia, calls for a full and objective international investigation into this disaster in full accordance with the UN Security Council resolution.
I think that statements to the effect that the territory where the crash took place is controlled by the so-called pro-Russian separatists are absolutely untenable because it is not these people but the opposing party that is constantly firing in this area, and thus making it impossible to conduct in full the work in the crash zone.
In any event, we welcome the fact that Malaysian specialists have finally been given full-fledged participation in the investigation and not just in the technical commission’s work. I am sure that your specialists will make a needed contribution to a full and thorough investigation of this tragedy.
As for our bilateral ties, they continue their development, including in the economy. Our bilateral trade increased 1.5-fold last year, and grew by a further 30 percent over the first nine months of this year.
Of course, we always need to discuss the current situation too and look at the prospects ahead. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to meet with you, Mr Prime Minister.
Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak (retranslated): Mr President, thank you for this chance to meet, and thank you for the words of condolence that you expressed over the MH-17 tragedy.
Malaysia has always taken an objective position. Rather than blame anyone, we are waiting to hear the final report on the causes of the disaster. Going by the conclusions presented in the air traffic safety council’s preliminary report, what happened was not a simple accident or tragedy. The plane crashed after it was hit and came under the impact of a large number of high-energy objects.
More work needs to be done to determine exactly what type of objects these were, where they were launched from and who is responsible for this. This requires that we have full access to the disaster area so that we can analyse the wreckage and ascertain the nature of these high-energy objects that have probably left traces on the fuselage or other parts of the plane.
According to the data obtained from the black box, the plane was in flightworthy state and the flight parameters were all in good order. Furthermore, the pilots flying the plane were experienced professionals.
We hope that both sides will guarantee us unhindered and full access to the crash site. Unfortunately, this has not happened so far. Malaysia has no stake on the side of any of the participants in the geopolitical conflict underway in this region. Our country has simply become a victim of the events currently taking place there.
We have always had good relations with Russia. We hope for your help and support in order to establish exactly what happened with the plane. We must do this for our people, for the families that have suffered as a result of this crash.
Malaysia lost two planes in the space of four months, and so this was an especially unfortunate event for us. We hope for active cooperation with all countries in the region, and most important of all is to get access to the crash site. A ceasefire is therefore an important condition for us to be able to get access to the site.
We hope that both sides will respect the ceasefire. But the ceasefire that was reached is not being respected by both sides. At this point, there are more questions than answers. We hope that you will help us to work out exactly what happened to the plane.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, I understand your feelings and let me say that we share your pain and concern. I fully agree with you that access to the tragedy’s site is one of the key issues.
The militia in southeastern Ukraine is not obstructing the experts’ access. The experts go out to the site, but when the area comes under fire they cannot stay there and have to leave. The militia are obviously not shooting at their own forces but are coming under fire from various armed groups fighting on the side of the Ukrainian government. The militia would not fire at their own people. I think this is clear.
But one of the big issues, as you rightly noted, is respecting the agreement on a total ceasefire. This is essential for a full and thorough investigation and for stabilising the situation in southeastern Ukraine. Russia seeks a full investigation and will do everything possible to ensure that this takes place.