(Adds Health Ministry comment)
MOSCOW, July 17 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 people killed,
ministry spokesman Oleg Salagan told RIA.
It was not clear whether Kiev had 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.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, Editing by Timothy Heritage)