MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin opened a meeting with top economic advisers late Thursday with comments on the crash of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine. The text of his remarks, as taken from the Kremlin website and translated by The Associated Press:
You know that a terrible event occurred today in the sky over Ukraine, an awful tragedy -- a civilian plane was killed, 285 people, according to preliminary information, were killed.
On behalf of the Russian leadership and the Russian government, we express condolences to the bereaved families, the governments of those countries whose nationals were on that plane. I ask you to honor their memory.
(A moment of silence)
In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.
I have already given instructions to the military departments to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation of this crime. And I also ask the government of the Russian Federation through the available civilian agencies that have the capability to do everything for a thorough investigation of this event. We will do everything -- everything that depends on us, anyway -- in order that the objective picture of what happened is part of the public domain here, in Ukraine and in the rest of the world. This is an absolutely unacceptable thing, and no one has the right to let this pass without the appropriate conclusions and without all of us having objective information about the incident.
But we have gathered with you for another reason. I would like to talk to you about the socio-economic situation in the country. We also have many other issues of the current character. Let's talk about them.