World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, called for an international probe into Thursday's crash of Flight MH17, Reuters reported Friday, while the governments of Ukraine and Russia, and pro-Moscow rebels, exchanged accusations over who brought down the plane.
Flight MH17 was flying at an altitude of about 33,000 feet, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, when it was reportedly shot down by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The plane came down in the village of Hrabove, about 25 miles from the Russian border.
“It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible,” the White House said, in a statement released Thursday.
Obama also spoke to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and said that the evidence from the crash should remain in Ukraine so that a fair and impartial probe could be carried out.
"The president and prime minister agreed on the need to assure immediate access to the site of the incident to international investigators in order to facilitate the recovery of remains and to carry out a thorough investigation," the White House said.
Of the 298 people killed in the Boeing 777 crash near the Ukraine-Russia border, 154 are Dutch nationals. In a statement released Thursday, Rutte said that he is “deeply shocked,” adding that “much remains unclear as regards to the cause and circumstances of the crash.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also called for a “full and transparent international investigation” into the plane crash. The U.N.'s British office has also scheduled a meeting of the Security Council for 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. EDT) to discuss the worsening situation in crisis-ridden eastern Ukraine.
More than 17 hours after the tragedy, there is still no clarity regarding the perpetrators. While Ukraine has accused pro-Moscow militants, aided by the Russian military, of carrying out the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly pinned the blame on Kiev.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also blamed Russia-backed militants for the attack and demanded a “categoric assurance” from Russia that “the Russian government will fully cooperate” in an investigation into the crash.
“Australia will be working at the United Nations Security Council for a binding resolution calling for a full and impartial investigation with full access to the site, with full access to the debris, with full access to the black box,” he said, in a statement to the House of Representatives in the country's parliament on Friday.
27 Australians were killed in the MH17 crash.
Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in an address on Friday from the presidential palace, called the incident a “violation of international law” and backed demands for an international investigation.
Qin Gang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, expressed hope "that the cause will be found out as soon as possible," adding that the ministry and "diplomatic and consular missions abroad have activated the emergency response mechanism to establish whether there were Chinese citizens onboard."