UK & World News

  • 19 July 2014, 19:05

Britain Warns Putin: World's Eyes Are On You

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has warned Vladimir Putin the "world's eyes are on Russia to make sure she delivers" on her obligations to the victims killed in the Ukraine plane disaster.

His comments come as David Cameron and Dutch counterpart Mark Ruttecalled for the European Union to "reconsider its approach to Russia" in light of evidence pro-Moscow separatists brought down the flight on Thursday.

Mr Cameron also spoke to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, while Britain's Russian ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Office.

The UK's response follows accusations pro-Russian separatists removed 38 bodies from the crash scene and attempted to destroy evidence at the site.

The Ukraine government said "terrorists, with the help of Russia, are trying to destroy evidence of international crimes," adding it had obtained data which showed bodies had been taken to a morgue in Donetsk.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the Netherlands was "angry" and "furious" by allegations bodies were being dragged around the site.

However, Sky's Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay, at the scene, said there were reports rebels had moved bodies on Friday, but body parts were now officially being removed by Ukraine emergency ministry staff.

Mr Hammond, who chaired an emergency Cobra meeting on Saturday, accused Russia of not doing enough to move separatists from the site.

"We're not getting enough support from the Russians, we're not seeing Russia using their influence effectively enough to get the separatists, who are in control of the site, to allow the access that we need," he said.

"This is not about Russia and the West, this is about the whole community demanding that proper access is made available to this site, the victims are properly recovered, and evidence is secured."

Ukraine's Security Council said 18sq km of the 25sq km had been explored and 186 bodies found, while there have been discussions between the two factions over the creation of a "security zone" around the crash scene following allegations of looting and evidence being compromised.

Concerns have been raised by Malaysia about the investigation as a team of international observers complained of being confronted by aggressive armed rebels.

A Ukraine Security Council spokesman said 15 pieces of military equipment were brought over the border from Russia into the eastern Luhansk region overnight.

Critically, the monitors have been unable to speak to anyone about the whereabouts of the jet's two black box voice and data recorders.

However, Alexander Borodai, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, denied rebels had shot down the plane, found the black boxes, or removed bodies. But he said body parts which had fallen into people's homes had been taken away.

British experts are due to join the investigation at the crash site over the weekend.

Some 298 people including 10 Britons and 80 children were killed when flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was brought down near Grabovo, Donetsk, where Ukrainian forces have been battling separatists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed on Saturdaythat both countries would use their influence on the two sides of the Ukraine conflict to end hostilities

:: The Foreign Office has set up a helpline for anyone concerned. Text MH17 to +447860010026, or call 020 7008 1500. Malaysia Airlines's emergency line is 00 6 037 884 1234.

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