Germany calls for independent inquiry into Malaysian plane downing in Ukraine

MEXICO CITY, July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:08pm EDT

MEXICO CITY, July 17 (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday called for an independent, international investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine accused "terrorists" - militants fighting to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia - of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Leaders of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic denied any involvement.

Steinmeier's statement, issued after he landed in Mexico City, said, "The separatists must immediately grant emergency and security services access to the crash site and an independent, international investigation must commence immediately."

"I'm horrified by the news from eastern Ukraine. With hundreds of completely innocent people having died in this terrible way, words fail you," he said.

Asked at a media briefing in Mexico City whether Germany was of the same view as the Ukrainian government on the reasons for the crash, Steinmeier said he could not add anything to the statement.

"I have no information," he said. (Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City; Writing by Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Louise Ireland)