CANBERRA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — Australian MPs have on Thursday called on Russia to assist authorities with their investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, following the release of a report which said Russian forces were responsible for firing the missile which brought down the passenger jet.
The report is the result of a two-year investigation by Dutch, Belgian, Ukrainian, Australian and Malaysian authorities, and found there was "irrefutable evidence" that MH17 was downed by a BUK missile fired by Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Despite the release of the findings, Russia has maintained its innocence in the downing of MH17, and has slammed the report as "biased" and "politically motivated."
Following the release of the report, Australian MPs - including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was in power at the time of the disaster - have urged Russia to respond to the Joint Investigation Team's (JIT) claims.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said it was "essential" that all parties continue to "support the criminal investigation" into the downing of the jet, which claimed 298 lives including 38 Australians.
"While we cannot take away the grief of those who lost their loved ones that day, we can do everything possible to ensure justice is done independently, fairly and transparently," Bishop said in a statement on Thursday.
Australia's deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said Russia must respond to the independent investigation.
"I'm sure the report is well thought out and diligent in its process and therefore there is a response required from Russia," He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Wednesday that "the findings of the Dutch Prosecutor' s Office confirm that the investigation is biased and politically motivated."
The Boeing 777 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died, most of them Dutch citizens.
Zakharova said international investigators have suspended Moscow from full participation in the investigative process, while Ukraine was made a full member of the JIT, thus having an "opportunity to forge evidence and wrap the case in its own favor. "
She said Moscow hoped that the JIT would change its opinion after receiving "indisputable evidence" from the Russian side.