‘Russia not taking away Malaysian plane’s black boxes’

Moscow, Jul 19: Russia is not going to take away the black boxes from the crash site of the Malaysian plane in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

“We are not going to take away these boxes, nor to violate the rules with regard to this sort of cases within the international community,” Xinhua quoted the Russian foreign minister as saying in an interview.

“This is the sphere of activity for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), for the countries that are directly involved: the Netherlands, Malaysia and the ones whose nationals were on board, as well as Ukraine, of course,” he said. There is still no official confirmation on whether the flight recorders have been found or not, nor about their possible whereabouts.

The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) said Friday the flight recorders, once found, should be handed over to the international investigative commission organised under the aegis of the ICAO. A Malaysian flight with 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board crashed Thursday in Ukraine near the Russian border.

US officials told media that they concluded the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Investigations are under way to figure out what happened to the plane.  US President Barack Obama and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stressed during their phone conversation Thursday that evidence from the crash of Malaysian airliner must stay in Ukraine before it is investigated.