MOSCOW, July 18 -- Russia is not going to take away the black boxes from the crash site of the Malaysian Boeing 777 in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
"We are not going to take away these boxes, nor to violate the rules with regard to this sort of cases within the international community," the minister said in an interview with Russia's TV channel Rossiya 24.
"This is the sphere of activity for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), for the countries that are directly involved: the Netherlands, Malaysia and the ones whose nationals were on board, as well as Ukraine, of course," he said.
There is still no official confirmation on whether the flight recorders are found or not, nor their possible whereabouts.
The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) said Friday that the flight recorders, once found, should be handed over to the international investigative commission organized under the aegis of the ICAO.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stressed during their phone conversation on Thursday that evidence from the crash of Malaysian airliner must stay in Ukraine before it is investigated.
A Malaysian flight with 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board crashed Thursday in Ukraine near the Russian border. U.S. officials told media that they concluded the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Investigations are under way to figure out what happened to the plane.