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Russia urges greater access to MH17 crash site
July 20, 2014, 5:40 am

Photo taken on July 18, 2014 shows the debris at the crash site of MH17 of Malaysian Airlines near the city of Shakhtarsk in Ukraine's Donetsk region [Xinhua]

Photo taken on July 18, 2014 shows the debris at the crash site of MH17 of Malaysian Airlines near the city of Shakhtarsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region [Xinhua]

Even as Britain accused Moscow of “sponsored terrorism”, Russia has called on Kiev and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine to give global experts access to the crash site of Malaysian Airlines fight MH17 to facilitate their investigation.

“The Russian side appeals to both sides of the Ukrainian conflict, urging them to do everything possible to enable access for international experts to the airplane crash area in order to take action necessary for the investigation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Pressure is mounting on Russia as worldwide outrage grows over downing of the aircraft. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned Russia of further severe sanctions even as he charged European leaders of failing to “face up” to Putin.

Also on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed at a phone conversation that there should be a “careful and unbiased investigation of all the circumstances” of the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine and that it should be investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The two leaders said bloodshed must be stopped immediately in eastern Ukraine, and that contact group talks involving representatives from conflict-hit regions should be resumed.

They also agreed that it “would be of fundamental importance” to implement Russia’s initiative on the presence of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors at two checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Some 30 OSCE observers arrived at the crash site on Friday to help supervise the handling of the remains of victims of the fatal crash.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crashed Thursday in restive eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, killing all the 298 people on board.

The Ukrainian government and insurgents in the country’s east have traded charges, accusing each other of hindering the investigation and allowing bodies to rot.

Donetsk insurgent leader Aleksandr Borodai denied on Saturday that black boxes of the crashed Malaysian airliner had been found.

Borodai said they had not touched the site where the passenger plane crashed but they reserved the right to begin the process of taking away the bodies since the bodies would decompose in the heat.

“We ask the Russian Federation to help us with this problem and send their experts,” Borodai, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told a press conference.

Earlier in the day, Kiev accused insurgents of destroying evidence of international crimes from the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner.

“The terrorists have taken 38 bodies to the morgue in Donetsk,” the Ukrainian government said in a statement.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said insurgents in eastern Ukraine barred government experts from collecting evidence and threatened to detain them.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia should take possession of the black boxes from MH17.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and Foreign Minister Anifah Anan left for Kiev on Saturday to help ensure that a team of Malaysian investigators is allowed access to the crash site.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country, which lost 193 nationals in the crash, would not rest until the perpetrators of the possible attack on the crashed plane are detected, adding that his country have already sent its Safety Board to Ukraine to support an international investigation.

Meanwhile, BRICS leaders have extended condolences to Malaysia and the Netherlands over the loss of lives in the tragedy and asked for an impartial probe.

 

Source: Agencies

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