Russia should help investigate air crash - Czech foreign minister


22.07.2014 10:22

Brussels - Russia should help an independent investigation into the crash of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine and stop the transfer of weapons and armed men to the region, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told journalists today.


Ministr zahraničí Lubomír Zaorálek. ČTK/AP Michael Sohn

If this fails to happen "within a few days' time," the extraordinary EU summit should decide on strong sanctions targeting some branches of the Russian economy, Zaoralek said before meeting his opposite numbers from the EU.

The meeting will be held for the first time since the Malaysian airliner was shot down over the region dominated by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

The incident claimed 298 lives. Moscow has denied responsibility for it, blaming Kiev that says the separatists shot down the plane.

Zaoralek said full access to the site of the tragedy should be ensured and it should be independently investigated.

"At the same time, the flow of weapons and armed men to the region must stop," Zaoralek said.

A ceasefire should be concluded in the region, he added.

"These are the conditions that should be fulfilled in a few days," Zaoralek said.

"If they are not fulfilled, I am convinced that another step should be taken and the European Council should decide on the measures," he added.

One day before the crash, an EU summit decided that the European sanctions against Russia should be toughened. It reacted to the failure to fulfil four specific demands raised by the previous meeting of EU presidents and prime ministers.

Now the diplomats have prepared legal documents for the EU to impose sanctions not only on individuals, but also on Russian companies that are undermining Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The USA has already imposed rather tough sanctions on the companies.

The EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss further sanctions later today.

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