UK & World News

  • 20 July 2014, 10:14

Australia Warns Russia Not To Tamper With Site

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has said he fears Russia will interfere with the MH17 crash site and that allegations of pro-Russian rebels meddling with evidence is "outrageous".

Twenty-seven victims of the doomed flight were from Australia.

After the Netherlands and Malaysia it is the country which has suffered the most number of deaths from the tragedy.

An emotional Tony Abbott told ABC: "My fear is that Russia will say the right thing, but that on the ground interference with the site, interference with investigators, interference with the dignified treatment of bodies will continue."

Australian investigators are among those trying to access the site.

"The site is chaotic, it's absolutely chaotic," Mr Abbott said.

"The kinds of things that would normally be happening at an air crash site are not happening."

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko had invited Australia to "fully participate" in any aspect of the investigation, including body recovery.

But the PM warned it could be weeks before bodies are returned to families.

"The grim truth is that not all the bodies will be intact," he said.

He also revealed his daughters had flown the same route as the doomed airliner a few months ago on their way home from Europe.

"You look at the faces of the dead and they're your neighbours, they're your friends and they could even be your kids," he said.

His comments come as there are calls for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be banned from attending the upcoming G20 conference to be held in Brisbane in November.

Mr Abbott would not be drawn on the issue other than saying: "It's not too late for changes of heart."

The PM joined other dignitaries at a memorial service for MH17 victims at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on Sunday.

A national day of mourning for all the Australian victims will be held in the next fortnight.

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