UPDATE 1-Russia calls on Kiev, rebels to help experts at plane crash site

Sat Jul 19, 2014 9:54am EDT

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MOSCOW, July 19 (Reuters) - Russia called on Ukraine's authorities and rebels on Saturday to give international experts access to the crash site of a Malaysian Airlines plane, the foreign ministry said.

"The Russian side appeals to both sides of the Ukrainian conflict, urging them to do everything possible to enable access for international experts to the airplane crash area in order to take action necessary for the investigation," it said in a statement.

The statement came as Kiev accused Russia and pro-Moscow separatists of destroying evidence of "international crimes", saying it had proof that a Russian fired the missile assumed to have killed all 298 aboard on Thursday.

"It is puzzling that before the trial even started the official representatives of a number of states rushed to unsubstantially put forward their versions of what caused the airplane crash, thus putting pressure on the course of the investigation," the Russian foreign ministry said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott blamed Russia on Friday for the shooting down of the Boeing 777 while two U.S. officials said Washington strongly suspected it was downed by separatists backed by Moscow. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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