President Vladimir Putin has spoken out against using the "terribly tragic" crash of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine to score political points, as Russia and Western leaders continue to finger-point over who is to blame for the incident.
"Nobody should or has the right to use this tragedy for selfish political goals," Putin said in an address published on the Kremlin website early Monday.
In the same statement, however, Putin reiterated an earlier stance blaming Ukraine's ending of a ceasefire for the deaths of the 298 passengers aboard the commercial airliner.
"It can be said with certainty that if military action in eastern Ukraine had not resumed on June 28, this tragedy would probably not have happened," he said in the statement.
Putin's comments followed appeals by European, U.S. and other Western leaders over the weekend to cease Moscow's backing of separatists — support that Western governments blame for the continued unrest that led to the downing of the plane.
Russia's conviction that Ukraine government forces are to blame for the downing has garnered support only from China.