“If suspicions about the jetliner having been shot down by the missile system Buk-M1 prove correct, the guilty ones will have to be identified. The responsibility will also fall upon those who supply the weaponry and do not ensure proper control,” the prime minister told journalists on Friday.
He also emphasized that “we should refrain from categorical statements until there are verified data about the causes of the disaster.”
In Butkevičius’ words, the accident would have clearly been prevented, if the conflict in Eastern Ukraine had not been escalated.
“Lithuania joins the call by leaders of European countries and the United States of America to all parties involved – Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine – to announce ceasefire immediately in order to allow international investigators a safe environment to examine the causes of the disaster and provide an unimpeded access to the site of the disaster,” said the head of the Lithuanian government.
Butkevičius conveyed condolences over the crash, saying that no Lithuanian citizens were aboard the flight, according to the information available.
“We are deeply shaken by the event, which killed 298 innocent people including children,” said the prime minister.
President Grybauskaitė: “brutal act of terror”
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the disaster of the Malaysian Airlines plane was a brutal act of terror and stressed that people behind the tragedy must be clearly identified and brought to justice.
“It is a brutal act of terror which has shown explicitly that efforts of the international community to solve the crisis in Ukraine have been too weak. It is unjustifiable that in the 21st century Europe innocent people – dozens of children among them – die of weapons. Perpetrators must be named clearly and assume responsibility. Conditions must be established for the international observers to determine the executors and organisers of the tragedy,” Grybauskaitė said in a statement.
A Boeing-777 of Malaysia Airlines on Thursday reportedly crashed in the Ukrainian territory close to the Russian border near the town of Shakhtyorsk, Donetsk region. Some 283 passengers and 15 crew members were aboard the airplane.
US authorities said the airplane was hit by a surface-to-air missile but could not specify the groups behind the attack.