World leaders demand answers to why a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was apparently shot down over Ukraine. Ciara Sutton looks at the global diplomatic implications of the disaster, and asks: what next for the Ukraine crisis?
Flowers pile up outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev. 298 people were killed when a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was downed in the eastern part of the country - 173 of them from the Netherlands. World leaders have been quick to react. They're demanding an international investigation after accusations the plane was brought down by a surface to air missile by Moscow-backed separatists. Mark Rutte is prime minister of the Netherlands. (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE SAYING: "The message of the cabinet is that we want to research what has happened, we want to determine who was behind this and I would like to quote my Australian counterpart: "If there were terrorists involved, if there were intentions, that somebody did this on purpose, then we want that everything be done to get those involved in court and that they will be punished accordingly." President Barack Obama says all investigators must be given unhindered access to the crash site. The black box flight recorder could hold the answers to whether the plane was shot down and where the missile might have been fired from. A tug-of-war for possession could now begin. Alisa Lockwood from IHS says the situation looks damaging for Putin. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF THE EUROPE/CIS TEAM AT IHS COUNTRY RISK, ALISA LOCKWOOD, SAYING: "Certainly in terms of the statements that have been coming out of Ukraine and the US. Strong condemnations and continuing allegations that Russia is supporting the separatists." The disaster could prove a turning point for international pressure to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Hundreds have been killed since protests toppled the Moscow-backed president in Kiev 6 months ago.. It's marked the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War, with the West imposing sanctions on Russia. Pierre Briancon is from Reuters Breakingviews. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST, PIERRE BRIANCON, SAYING: "This is probably the beginning of the end of the crisis. The separatists are on the wane, the Ukrainian army is going to go in much harder than it would have otherwise." The crash could also have other international implications. Believed to be among those killed were around 100 AIDS delegates including top experts en route to a conference in Melbourne. The loss of some of the industry's best could potentially be a set-back for AIDS research.