UPDATE 1-Russia says MH17 probe should be done by "international community", not Ukraine

Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:59pm EDT

(Adds quotes, more context)

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 (Reuters) - Russia has called for the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 to be led by the "international community" and not Ukraine, its ambassador to Malaysia said on Tuesday.

"This situation is quite unique, the area is a war zone. I think the international community should be flexible about that and act in a way acceptable to all sides," Russian ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila Vorobyeva said in a news conference on Tuesday.

"Russia has been calling for a fair, thorough and full investigation led by ICAO since the beginning," she said.

ICAO is the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization. Under ICAO rules the country where the incident happened, in this case Ukraine, should lead the investigation.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down last week in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board. The aircraft's black boxes, which could hold information about the crash in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, were handed to Malaysian officials on Tuesday morning.

"We've been calling for an investigation lead by ICAO. The reason for that is that the rebels, as we understand do not trust the government of Kiev," said Vorobyeva.

"That's why they were reluctant to hand over anything (including) the black boxes to the Ukrainian side because they are afraid the evidence would be tampered with." (Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Siva Govindasamy; Editing by Michael Perry)