MH17: Prince William voices ‘sadness’

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iol pic wld_UKRAINE-CRISIS-_0718_11 REUTERS A journalist takes photographs at the site of Thursday's Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region. Picture: Maxim Zmeyev

London - Britain's Prince William spoke of his “deep sadness” on Friday after a Malaysia Airlines plane was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

William offered the “thoughts and prayers” of Britain's royal family to the relatives of those who died in the disaster during an event at Australia's diplomatic mission in London.

Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on Thursday. Ukraine's government accuses pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian forces in the area of shooting it down in a “terrorist act”.

“I know that I speak for all of us here when I acknowledge our deep sadness following Thursday's disaster in the Ukraine,” William said.

“For all of us who have lost fellow countrymen and women in the tragedy, words cannot do justice to our sense of loss.”

The flight was carrying 173 Dutch citizens as well as 43 Malaysian nationals, 28 Australians and nine Britons.

“For Australians, and for our Malaysian brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth, the crash is a particularly cruel tragedy coming so soon after the loss of MH370,” the prince added.

“Please be assured of my family's thoughts and prayers at this time.”

The disaster happened four months after the unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. No trace of that airliner has yet been found despite extensive search efforts.

Analysts say the latest tragedy could intensify what is already seen as the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine. - AFP



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