Russia asked Kiev on Thursday for permission to help with rescue work in eastern Ukraine after a Malaysian passenger airliner was brought down there, the Emergencies Ministry said.
“The Russian emergency services sent an official request to our Ukrainian colleagues to carry out joint work at the crash site of a Boeing (plane) on Ukrainian territory,” Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told Russia’s RIA news agency.
Russia’s Health Ministry also offered its expertise in helping to identify the bodies of the 295 killed, ministry spokesman Oleg Salagan told RIA. It was not clear whether Kiev responded.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine are badly strained following the overthrow of a Ukrainian president who was sympathetic to Moscow and Russia’s subsequent annexation of the Crimea region from Ukraine.
Kiev accuses Moscow of backing pro-Russian separatists who have risen up in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies the accusations.
Boeing, the maker of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft, Thursday said it was ready to assist authorities. “Boeing stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested by authorities,” the Seattle-based company said in a statement on its website.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the Malaysia Airlines airplane lost over Ukrainian airspace, as well as their families and loved ones,” it said amid reports that all 295 people on board the Boeing 777 plane died in the crash when the aircraft was shot down by “terrorists” in war-torn Ukraine.