UK & World News

  • 21 July 2014, 22:44

UN Demands Full Access To Plane Crash Site

The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution condemning the downing of flight MH17 and demanding armed groups allow safe, full and unrestricted access to the crash site.

The resolution, drafted by Australia, also demands those responsible for the crash be held to account and calls for an international investigation into the tragedy in eastern Ukraine in which all 298 people on board died.

The unanimous backing by the 15-member council, including Russia, comes as the remains of 282 of the victims are being taken in refrigerated carriages on a train from the rebel-held town of Torez to the government-controlled city of Kharkiv.

The remains will then be handed over to Dutch officials and flown to Amsterdam.

Pro-Russian rebels have been blamed for shooting down the plane. Their leader Aleksander Borodai has given the black box flight recorders to Malaysian officials in Donetsk.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said a deal was struck with the separatists where independent international investigators will be given "full access" to the crash site.

Ukrainian deputy prime minister Volodymyr Groysman had suggested pro-Russian rebels had tampered with the recorders.

But a Malaysian colonel said the black boxes were in a "good condition".

Meanwhile, the Russian defence ministry has claimed a Ukrainian military plane flew within 3-5km of flight MH17 just before the Malaysian aircraft crashed.

Moscow has also denied supplying pro-Russian rebels with BUK missile systems - the weapon that is suspected of bringing down the passenger plane - or any other military hardware.

It said it detected the Ukrainian SU-25 combat jeton radar and noticed an increase in radar activity just before the Malaysian Airlines jet was destroyed.

It also said Ukrainian air defence forces had three or four battalions of BUK-M1 systems on combat duty on the day of the crash.

However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said all his planes in the area were grounded at the time of the downed aircraft.

US President Barack Obama had called on Mr Putin to compel the rebels to stop hampering the probe and allow international investigators unrestricted access.

He accused the separatists of removing evidence from the crash site, actions that he said raised the question of "what exactly are they trying to hide?"

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the evidence pointed towards flight MH17 being shot down by an SA-11 missile, also known as a BUK-M1, fired by pro-Russian separatists.

Mr Cameron said Russian President Vladimir Putin must use his influence to end the conflict in Ukraine by halting supplies and training to separatists.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Mr Putin is "on the side of the devil" as he reiterated Kiev's view that Russia had a clear role in shooting down the airliner.

The Russian president has vowed to "do everything to ensure the security and safety" of experts investigating the disaster. And he said "all people" in Ukraine are responsible for the tragedy.

In the Netherlands, Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen M?mamet relatives of the 193 Dutch people who died on the plane.

Mr Cameron said tougher sanctions may soon be imposed on Russia, adding he had spoken to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande and there is "strong co-operation" within the EU for action.

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