Sunday 05 December 2021

Pro-Russia rebels destroying plane crash evidence, Ukraine claims

Ukraine is accusing pro-Russian rebels of trying to destroy evidence at the site of Thursday’s plane crash, which left 298 people dead, including 192 Dutch nationals.

Ukraine says rebels ‘led by Russia’ are preventing international experts from starting their investigation, the BBC reports.

An OSCE team is being prevented by militiamen from reaching the wreckage, the BBC says. Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reports one rebel told its correspondent in the region: ‘It is war, and in a war zone whoever does not follow orders, gets shot.’

The BBC says the Ukrainian government has issued a statement in which it complains the ‘terrorists’ had taken 38 bodies to a morgue in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. The statement also said the rebels were trying to transport the plane’s wreckage to Russia.

Concerns

The Malaysian transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has also just told a news conference he is ‘extremely concerned’ that the disaster site has not been properly secured and that there are signs important evidence has already been removed.

‘MH17 has become a political subject but we must not forget it is also a human tragedy,’ the NRC quotes him as saying.

Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans arrived in Kiev on Friday evening to oversee the Dutch operation in the region.

Independence

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte stressed on Friday that the most important thing is to ensure an independent, international investigation into the crash is carried out.

He also spoke of the importance of ensuring a safe corridor for crash investigators to do their job.

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