Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine

Kremlin's response to Western leaders' demands is to accusing Washington of 'pushing its own agenda'

Only six months ago Vladimir Putin was ready to confirm his global eminence with the Winter Games in Sochi – an event to confirm his and his country's restored influence.

Now it appears no more than an exercise in hubris, as the West closed ranks against the Kremlin and the alleged part it played in the circumstances that led to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Germany's Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Moscow had a "last opportunity" to stop the conflict.

These sentiments were echoed by Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, having had an "extremely intense" telephone conversation with Mr Putin. He said the Russian President "has one last chance to show he means to help" over the recovery of bodies from MH17.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, also called Mr Putin to urge him to use his influence to reach a ceasefire. Ms Merkel and Mr Putin agreed that the contact group of diplomats from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia and Ukraine should meet quickly and directly with the separatists to reach a truce.

"Both agreed that an international, independent commission under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organisation should get quick access to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in east Ukraine," said a statement from Berlin. The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, declared: "We take a very dim view of countries which facilitate the killing of Australians. The idea that Russia can wash its hands of responsibility because this happened in Ukrainian airspace does not stand serious scrutiny."

President Barack Obama had already declared the deaths of the 298 passengers "an outrage of unspeakable proportions" late on Friday night, and laid the blame directly on separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Read more: Pro-Russians accused of blocking access to site of disaster
Vital clues may have been moved, say air crash experts
EU should 'reconsider its links with Russia,' says Cameron
Comment: In war, it's the civilians who suffer most of all

Turning his sights towards Russia, Mr Obama added that the insurgents would not be capable of carrying out such an attack without Moscow's support. "We know that they are heavily armed and they are trained, and we know that that's not an accident," he said. "[It] is happening because of Russian support."

In response, the Kremlin only appeared to isolate itself further, with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, accusing Washington of "pushing its own agenda".

"The statements of representatives of the US administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington's perception of what is going on in Ukraine," he said, before blaming the US for provoking the uprising in February that ousted Ukraine's Moscow-backed president, Victor Yanukovych.

In a seeming attempt to dampen the rhetoric, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, agreed both countries would seek to end hostilities in Ukraine and also agreed that all evidence, including flight recorders, would be handed to international investigators.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?