#MH17 Crash: Putin Promises Cooperation As Rebels Take Away 196 Bodies

While the question looms as to why Ukraine directed passenger planes to the disturbed area all this while, Russia has to control the situation and save itself from more stringent sanctions.

Four days after the Malaysian Airlines plane MH17 was downed, there is no sign of fully fledged investigation at the crash site. However, the rebels allowed the investigators in the central area of the crash site for some time. Western countries have criticised pro-Russian rebels controlling the area for restricting access to the crash site.

They have reportedly recovered the two black boxes of the plane. The rebels say they will hand MH17’s flight recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The remains of up to 196 people from the crash have been loaded on to refrigerated rail wagons, to be taken to an unknown destination. The freight train with its five sealed wagons has been standing at Torez railway station, 15km (nine miles) from the crash site.

The OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission in the region said in a tweet it had been told that 196 bodies were on the rail wagons in Torez. An OSCE team was allowed to see three of the wagons and observed “tagged body bags”, without being able to verify the figures.

The mounting pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin made him call the leaders of the involved countries. According to AFP, in separate phone calls, Putin promised Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte “full cooperation” in retrieving the bodies and black boxes, while Australia’s premier Tony Abbott said the Russian leader had said “all the right things”.

The two leaders spoke overnight in their first conversation since the plane, carrying 298 people, crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, apparently shot down by pro-Russian rebels with a surface-to-air missile.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, British counterpart David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande also piled pressure on Putin over the weekend in phone calls.

While Abbott would not divulge details of what was discussed, he said the onus was now on Moscow to act, using its influence with pro-Russian separatists to ensure experts can access the site of the crash.

“He did say all the right things and now he has to be as good as his word,” he told Macquarie Radio, “I am not going to have this conversation and say ‘well, that’s nice, President Putin said everything will work out fine’ and just accept that. I am now going to try and ensure, as far as Australia humanely can, we insist upon these things happening.”

With the world watching and no clarity over what actually happened with the MH17 and who shot down the plane, the difficulty for Kremlin is increasing.

Ukraine has produced what it said was a recording of another intercepted call between rebels (in Russian) saying Moscow had given orders not to hand the “black boxes” to international monitors. The authenticity of the tape could not be confirmed.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said talks were under way with the rebels on letting the train leave rebel territory.

It should be noted that previously, Ukraine had alleged that pro-Russian rebels downed the plane and that they had audio proof of the same, which they had released later on. But on Sunday, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin claimed that the audio was fabricated.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was “pretty clear” Russia had transferred a missile system to the rebels which was allegedly used to down the jet. The US state department had said there had been multiple reports of bodies and aircraft parts being removed, and potential evidence tampered with, by rebels. AP news agency too had reported movement of heavy machinery at the crash site moving debris of the crashed plane.

Memorial services for paying homage to the dead were being held all over the world. In a mark of respect to the dead, Malaysia Airline says it is retiring the MH17 flight number. The airline did the same for MH370, which disappeared in March with 239 passengers and crew on board.

While the question looms as to why Ukraine directed passenger planes to the disturbed area all this while, Russia has to control the situation and save itself from more stringent sanctions.

Article Categories:

Don't Miss! random posts ..