Liudmila G. Vorobyeva (1st L), the Russian ambassador to Malaysia speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 25, 2014. The crash of a Malaysian plane last week in eastern Ukraine should not adversely affect the bilateral relations between Russia and Malaysia, said Vorobyeva Friday. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)
by Ouyang Wei, Zhao Bochao
KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The crash of a Malaysian plane last week in eastern Ukraine should not adversely affect the bilateral relations between Russia and Malaysia, said a senior Russian diplomat Friday.
"I sincerely hope this tragedy will not in the long run affect our very good relations with Malaysia that Russia views as our traditional partner and good friend. We understand that people in Malaysia are grieving over this awful tragedy," said Liudmila G. Vorobyeva, the Russian ambassador to Malaysia.
Nearly 300 people were killed when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are battling government forces, on July 17.
While some western countries claimed that pro-independence insurgents in Ukraine's east shot down the airliner with Russia- made anti-craft missile, Russia challenged the allegations.
"It's highly, highly improbable that the rebels could have done this," said the ambassador in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. She further explained that such air defense system is usually a very sophisticated one, and not the kind one just push the button and it can hit the targets.
"In no way the rebels could operate such kind of system. They don't have the competence, neither the qualification to do that."
She said that in the context of very harsh informational attack against Russia conducted by western countries, the Malaysian society is affected, and some of its anger over the tragedy has been "wrongly directed toward Russia."
"But I hope the truth will be known, the Malaysian society will understand what really happened, and our bilateral relations will remain positive and friendly as they are now," said Vorobyeva.
"We are very appreciative of the very balanced and wise position taken by the Malaysian government led by Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak. They are not engaging in this blame game, they are not pointing fingers or accusing anyone before the results of the investigation are known," she went on.
Vorobyeva also said Russia is willing to cooperate with Malaysia in every field, and revealed that her country is working on establishing a bilateral inter-governmental commission on cooperation with Malaysia, which is an umbrella body that brings government officials together to discuss the way of cooperation in different areas.
Remains and bodies of the victims from the crashed Boeing 777 have been airlifted in batches to the Netherlands for identification since Wednesday, as 193 of those on board the ill- fated airliner were Dutch.
Meanwhile, investigators at the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have taken delivery of the two flight recorders of MH17 from the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), which took over formal responsibility for the air crash investigation from Ukraine on Tuesday.
The flight recorders, commonly known as black boxes, were sent to the headquarters of AAIB in Farnborough, Hampshire for downloading and analysis.
Dozens of experts from a number of countries such as the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, the United States and Russia are involved in the investigation into the cause of the mishap.
"Our wish is that this investigation is to be led in most transparent way, and experts from other countries or members of ( the United Nation's civil aviation body) ICAO could have access or should know the results of the investigation," said the Russian diplomat, "Only in this case, the investigation could be fair and unbiased."
Touching on the ongoing fighting in east Ukraine, Vorobyeva said Russia has repeatedly called for ceasefire and urged the two sides to stop fighting.
"This call goes to both sides, because the western countries are pushing the rebels to cease the fire, but...Russia addressed the call to both sides. Only if both sides of the conflict stop the fighting, sustainable ceasefire could be achieved and dialogue could be launched," she stressed, adding Russia would do whatever is within its possibilities to help to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
"The (MH17 crash) tragedy actually highlighted that there is an urgent need to stop the war (from) going on, and it could be an opportunity for the parties involved in the conflict to realized that it's a good point to stop fighting and start talking with each other," said the ambassador.