(Adds Merkel comments from German government spokesman; changes
dateline, adds BERLIN)
BERLIN/MEXICO CITY, July 18 German Chancellor
Angela Merkel and 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
with 295 people aboard. Leaders of the rebel Donetsk People's
Republic denied any involvement.
Merkel called for an "immediate, independent investigation
into the causes of the crash", German government spokesman
Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
"For the chancellor, the suspected circumstances in which
the plane was allegedly shot down from a great height are
shocking", he said.
"If this news is confirmed, she said it would represent a
further tragic escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine,"
In a statement issued after he landed in Mexico City,
Steinmeier had earlier said: "The separatists must immediately
grant emergency and security services access to the crash site
and an independent, international investigation must commence
"I'm horrified by the news from eastern Ukraine. With
hundreds of completely innocent people having died in this
terrible way, words fail you."
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
"I have no information," he said.
(Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City and Andreas Rinke in
Berlin; Writing by Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Louise
Ireland and G Crosse)