Fidel Castro says Ukraine to blame for downed airliner, criticizes Israel, US over Gaza action

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Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro is blaming the Ukrainian government in Kiev for the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane.

In a statement published Friday by state media, Castro says the plane was flying over the territory controlled by "the bellicose government" of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko."

He recalled Cuba's support of Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and said it "cannot help but express its repudiation of the action by the same anti-Russian, anti-Ukrainian and pro-imperialist government."

Castro's comments came one week after he welcomed Vladimir Putin during the Russian leader's tour of Latin America.

Castro also criticized Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, and the United States for saying Israel has a right to defend itself. Castro wrote that President Barack Obama "backs Goliath against David."