news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

Sydney|The News Minute|14.36 pm IST

Russia has rejected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s allegation that it had a role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, media reported on Wednesday.

Russia also brushed aside Abbott’s demand that it apologise and pay compensation to the families of the victims of the crash, according to a report in The Canberra Times.

A Russian embassy spokesman in Canberra, Alexander Odoevskiy, citing the official position of Moscow, asked Abbott to present any evidence in Australia's possession that the flight was indeed shot down by Russian-supplied missiles.

"We totally refute the allegations and want to commit to full and impartial international investigation," the spokesman was quoted as saying.

Odoevskiy also refuted Abbott's reference to the US paying compensation after inadvertently shooting down an Iranian passenger aircraft in 1988. He said the two cases were "incomparable" because of the lack of agreement over who was responsible for the MH17 incident.

Western governments have overwhelmingly blamed Moscow for the MH17 crash and have held that the aircraft was destroyed by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists with the help of weapons supplied by Russia.

Abbott had met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing Tuesday and demanded an apology and compensation from Russia, for its alleged role in the incident.

The aircraft, carrying 298 people, was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur July 17 when it crashed in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, about 60 km from the Russian border.

All passengers and crew members onboard the Boeing 777-200 died. Among the victims were 38 Australians.


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