Malaysian defence minister in Russia to discuss crash probe

Malaysian defence minister in Russia to discuss crash probe
Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (C) speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on April 19, 2014.

MOSCOW - Malaysia's defence minister arrived Wednesday in Moscow to discuss the investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine in which 298 people died.

"Just arrived in Moscow: another long day of back to back meetings," Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted, a day after Dutch investigators released a preliminary report on the July 17 disaster.

Hishammuddin will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, Malaysia's Moscow embassy and the Russian foreign ministry said,

"The visit is related to the events," an embassy spokeswoman told AFP. "The visit will last less than a day."

Hishammuddin was in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Tuesday and will then visit Amsterdam, the spokeswoman added.

Dutch experts on Tuesday released initial findings in their probe into the tragedy, saying MH17 "broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside".

While the report from the Dutch Safety Board does not apportion blame over the July air disaster, it could heighten Western pressure on Moscow over its role in the bloody Ukraine conflict.

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