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Malaysia refrains from openly blaming Russia

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Malaysia's leadership has refrained from openly blaming Russia for downing the plane as the nation again grieves privately. (Source: CNN) Malaysia's leadership has refrained from openly blaming Russia for downing the plane as the nation again grieves privately. (Source: CNN)
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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (CNN) - A number of nations have lashed out at Russia and Ukrainian separatists following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

But Malaysia is not one of them.

While many world powers point fingers at Russia and pro-Russian rebels, Malaysian officials have remained silent even though dozens of Malaysians were on the doomed flight.

Another Malaysian tragedy is tainting the holy month of Ramadan.

Public prayer, private fury.

"There is a lot of anger with the Russians and the rebels,” said professor James Chin of Monash University.

Anger and grief.

From the streets to the prime minister's office.

Najib Razak lost his step-grandmother on Flight 17.

But so far, he's refusing to take sides.

"Najib is a very cautious political animal,” Chin said.

Chin says Najib gained the rebels' trust during hours of secret negotiations.

He stayed neutral as other countries blamed pro-Russian rebels and accused Moscow of supplying weapons.

"Well right now he has major political success in that he did negotiate for the rebels to release the bodies and also to release the black boxes,” Chin said.

The rebels insist they did not shoot down Flight 17.

The Russians maintain none of their military equipment crossed the border into Ukraine.

Even holding a press conference, denying any involvement.

The Russians maintain none of their military equipment crossed the border into Ukraine and it denies any involvement.

"Malaysia is a victim of a small war in a faraway country like Ukraine,” Chin said.

Malaysia's next move is critical.

Analysts say joining the U.S. and others in a tough stance against Russia could damage relations with China, a vital ally.

"And he wants some kind of report, especially sanctioned by an international body, before he will come out and openly blame anybody for it,” Chin said of the prime minister.

A prime minister's public balancing act as he and his country cope with private sorrow.

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