Putin denies onus for downed airliner, blames Kiev

Russian President Vladimir PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin has squarely blamed Ukraine for the shooting-down of a Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 298 people in the strife-torn east of the former Soviet state.

"There is no doubt that the country on whose territory this terrible tragedy happened bears responsibility," Putin said late on Thursday.

"This tragedy would not have happened if there was peace in the country, if military operations had not resumed in the south-east of Ukraine."

President Putin spoke with the Malaysian prime minister on Thursday, expressing his ''deep condolences,'' according to a Kremlin news release.

According to slate.com, Putin opened a meeting with his economic advisers this morning by calling for a moment of silence over the crash. "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."

He has also reported to have ordered Russian military and civilian agencies to co-operate with any investigation.