Factbox - World figures comment on downing of Malaysian airliner

(Reuters) - The following are selected comments from world figures on the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 near the Ukraine-Russia border:

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden:

"(The plane) apparently has been shot down - shot down, not an accident, blown out of the sky."

Russian President Vladimir Putin:

"This tragedy would not have happened, if there had been peace on that land, or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed. And without doubt the government of the territory on which it happened bears responsibility for this frightening tragedy."

"We will do everything that we can so that an objective picture of what happened can be achieved. This is a completely unacceptable thing."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

"We need to start an independent investigation as quickly as possibly. A ceasefire is needed for that and it's important that those responsible are bought to justice. There are many indications that the plane was shot down, so we have to take things very seriously."

"(I am making) a very clear call for the Russian president and government to make their contribution to bringing about a political solution."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak:

"If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko:

"(The) tragedy showed again that terrorism is not localised, but a world problem. And the external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem, but a threat to European and global security."

Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai:

"Apparently, it's a passenger airliner ... truly shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

"We all know that there are problems in Ukraine. We also know who is very substantially to blame for those problems, and the idea that Russia can somehow say that none of this had anything to do with them because it happened in Ukrainian air space frankly does not stand up to any serious scrutiny."

(Compiled by Larry King Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)