(AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin says all parties in the conflict in eastern Ukraine should lay down the arms and engage in talks as soon as possible after a commercial airliner was shot down.
Putin said on Friday in comments carried by Russian news agencies that "peace in Ukraine must prevail as soon as possible" and called for direct talks between Kiev and pro-Russian insurgents.
Separatist rebels and Ukrainian government forces have been fighting each other for three months now, killing more than 400 people and displacing tens of thousands.
The World Health Organization says its spokesman Glenn Thomas was on board the Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine.
Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the Geneva-based U.N. health agency, says the 49-year-old Briton was traveling to Melbourne, Australia, to attend the 20th International AIDS conference, which starts Sunday.
Hartl told reporters Friday in Geneva that Thomas, who regularly briefed journalists and responded to media requests for interviews and comment, had been with WHO for more than a decade.
An Australian woman who lost her brother in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has now learned that her stepdaughter was on the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine.
Kaylene Mann's brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on Flight 370 when it vanished in March. On Friday, she found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed along with 297 other passengers on board Flight 17 when it crashed in Ukraine.
Mann's brother Greg Burrows says news of the second tragedy to hit the family has "ripped our guts again."
Rizk and her husband Albert were returning home to Melbourne from a four-week European vacation.