Georgia shocked by Malaysian airline crash in Ukraine

People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane in Ukraine, on July 17, 2014. AP Photo, 18 Jul 2014 - 11:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s authority are shocked by the crashing of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine and believe international efforts are well underway to establish who was responsible for shooting down the aircraft, that was carrying 298 people.

"I'm shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster,” said the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

"We will respond accordingly. Our thoughts and prayers are now with the families of those who have died,” the Georgian leader said in a written statement.

The Foreign Ministry of Georgia also offered its condolences to the people, families and governments whose citizens were on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

"It is essential to determine the cause of the tragedy. At this stage we can say explicitly that the incident clearly demonstrates the regrettable consequences of the armed conflict against the international law, country law, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili also expressed his shock said it was important to conduct an international investigation to determine the cause of the disaster.

Georgian Parliament, convened on July 18 for an extraordinary sitting to ratify Association Agreement with the EU, started its session with observing a moment of silence.

The ill-fated aircraft, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. The aircraft cashed in rebel-held territory near the Russian border. Both sides in Ukraine's civil conflict have accused the other of shooting it down with a missile.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said it was an "act of terrorism”.

However Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the Ukraine Government for restarting military operations in the area, where it was trying to regain control from pro-Russian separatists.

"The country in whose airspace this happened bears responsibility for it," Putin said.

"This tragedy would not have occurred if there was peace in that country, or in any case, if hostilities had not resumed in southeast Ukraine. And certainly, the state over whose territory it occurred is responsible for this terrible tragedy,” Putin said.

Men explore the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner that crashed in east Ukraine while traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP. 

In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said MH17 was carrying 298 people, comprising 283 passengers of various nationalities and 15 Malaysian crew members. The full passenger manifest has not yet been released as officials are still working to identify all the victims however those on board MH17 include 154 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians, 43 Malaysians (including the crew), 12 Indonesians and nine from the UK.

Other passengers came from Germany, Belgium, the Philippines and Canada, with the nationalities of 41 people not yet confirmed.