GRABOVE, UKRAINE: Pro-Russian militiamen in Ukraine loaded almost 200 bodies from downed flight MH17 into refrigerated train wagons on Sunday as an outraged United States pointed the finger of blame directly at Moscow and demanded it ensure full access to the crash site for international investigators.
In what is the most unequivocal statement incriminating Russia, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the missile system used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines jet was “transferred from Russia in the hands of separatists.”
European leaders warned Moscow of further sanctions over the crash while Kiev piled on the pressure by releasing fresh recordings of what it says are intercepted conversations between rebels organising to hide the flight’s black boxes from international monitors.
The recordings were presented as key evidence to back up Kiev’s claims that rebels — supported by Russia — downed the jet.
Insurgents said they had in hand material resembling black boxes but promised to give them to “international investigators if they arrive.” They were also holding the bodies in refrigerated carriages until “the experts arrive,” said a rebel chief who explained that fighters had moved scores of bodies “out of respect for the families.”
“We couldn’t wait any longer because of the heat and also because there are many dogs and wild animals in the zone,” said Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Voldoymyr Groysman said salvage crews on Sunday found 27 more bodies and 20 body parts, with emergency workers in surgical masks seen carrying black body bags. Fighting continued to rage between government forces and rebels in the east. AFP
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2014.
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