UK & World News

  • 21 July 2014, 0:00

Kerry Accuses Putin Of Complicity Over MH17

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said there was overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine.

He also said there was overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of the passenger jet in eastern Ukraine.

Mr Kerry also demanded Russia take responsibility for the actions of the pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine, as he branded as "grotesque" the separatists' mishandling of 298 victims' bodies at the crash site.

And he threatened "additional steps" against Moscow, while calling on European allies to take a tougher stance with sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

While stopping short of blaming Moscow directly for shooting down flight MH17, he argued there was an overwhelming case that Russia had equipped insurgents with the sophisticated missile system used to destroy the aircraft.

This included evidence of a military convoy from Russia into the launch area, US tracking of the launch, and "bragging" by separatists of shooting down the aircraft.

"It's pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia," Mr Kerry said.

Moscow has denied any involvement and has blamed Ukrainian forces for bringing down the airliner.

Mr Kerry's comments signal a mounting anger in Washington with Russia over the crash, which is being seen as a possible turning point in the crisis and has led to a Cold War-style stand-off.

Mr Kerry said: "The separatists are in control. It is clear that Russia supports the separatists, supplies the separatists, encourages the separatists, trains the separatists.

"And Russia needs to step up and make a difference here."

He told Fox News: "This is a wake-up call for Putin and Russia."

Mr Kerry also expressed outrage over how dead bodies had been handled at the scene of the disaster.

He told NBC: "Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site.

"What's happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do."