NATO Secretary General blames Russia for MH17 downing

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg has again blamed Russia for the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Stoltenberg during a visit to Poland on Monday repeated his call for Moscow to accept responsibility for the 2014 downing.

“I agree with the Dutch Government, which calls on Russia to take responsibility for the crash,’’ Stoltenberg said, describing the incident, which killed all 298 passengers, as a ‘direct consequence’ of Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

The Netherlands and Australia accused Russia of downing flight MH17 after a team of international investigators discovered that the Buk anti-aircraft system, used to bring down the jet, belonged to Russia.

Stoltenberg, citing Russian interference in elections, cyber-attacks and their use of military force against neighbouring countries, went on to say that this “more assertive’’ Russia is one of the biggest security challenges for NATO states.

The secretary-general assured delegates during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held in Warsaw that the alliance would respond to this challenge with a combination of deterrence and political dialogue.

Ukraine and Georgia were described as “close NATO partners,” as Stoltenberg announced further political support for the two Russia-neighbouring countries.

Stoltenberg met Polish President, Andrzej Duda, after addressing the assembly, which also discussed Islamic State extremism in the Middle East and the situation in Afghanistan.

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