Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin. Pic: AP.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says the Ukrainian government is at fault for Thursday’s Malaysia Airlines passenger plane crash.

In a short statement published Friday in Cuban state media, Castro says the jet was flying over territory controlled by “the warmongering government” of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The statement, entitled “Astonishing Provocation,” goes on to cite Cuba’s support of Ukraine in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and says the Cuban government “cannot fail to express its rejection of the action of such an anti-Russian, anti-Ukrainian, pro-imperialist government.”

The second half of the statement comments on Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip, and criticizes both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the United States government for supporting the Israeli ground offensive.

Castro, who has been in declining health for several years, is rarely seen in public anymore, but continues to serve as chief foreign policy adviser to his brother, President Raul Castro. The two met with President Vladimir Putin last week during the Russian leader’s visit to Cuba.