The Netherlands on Saturday called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to ‘take responsibility’ for access to the MH17 crash site, as Malaysia said evidence at the location was being compromised.
“Vladimir Putin must act to allow access to the crash site so bodies can be removed,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Saturday after a ‘very intense’ conversation with the Russian president. The premier told journalists he was ‘shocked’ by news images of ‘shameless’ rebels handling passenger possessions and walking around the crash site.
Rutte’s statement came as Kiev accused pro-Russian insurgents of destroying evidence at the crash site.
“Terrorists with the support of Russia are trying to destroy proof of this international crime,” a furious statement issued by the Ukrainian government said. It accused rebels of refusing to hand over the plane’s black box and moving 38 bodies to a morgue in insurgent-controlled Donetsk.
Rebel leader Oleksandr Borodai told reporters that militias had never recovered the data recorders and denied tampering with any evidence.
Malaysia’s transport minister also expressed alarm over “indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place” by militias guarding the site. “Failure to stop such interference would be a betrayal of the lives that were lost,” Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.