Bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines jet piled in boxcars in Ukraine

Jul 22 2014, 22:13 IST
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SummaryPro-Moscow rebels piled nearly 200 bodies from the downed Malaysia Airlines MH17 jetliner into four refrigerated boxcars...

Pro-Moscow rebels piled nearly 200 bodies from the downed Malaysia Airlines MH17 jetliner into four refrigerated boxcars Sunday in eastern Ukraine, and cranes at the crash scene moved big chunks of the Boeing 777, drawing condemnation from Western leaders that the rebels were tampering with the site.

The United States, meanwhile, presented what it called ''powerful'' evidence that the rebels shot down the plane with a Russian surface-to-air missile and training. Although other governments have stopped short of accusing Russia of actually causing the crash, the U.S. was ahead of most in pointing blame on Moscow for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that killed all 298 people aboard.

''Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists,'' Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN's ''State of the Union.''

Leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Australia spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone late Sunday, urging him to use his influence on the separatists to ensure the victims could be repatriated and international investigators could have full access to collect evidence. They said European foreign ministers will be meeting in Brussels Tuesday to consider further sanctions on Russia.

More than three days after the jetliner crashed, international investigators still had only limited access to the sprawling fields where the plane fell.

U.N. Security Council diplomats tweeted Sunday that the council would vote Monday afternoon on a draft resolution co-sponsored by Australia, France and Lithuania that would call for full access to the crash site and an independent investigation. Diplomats met to discuss the language until after midnight Monday, after an emergency council meeting on the situation in Gaza.

Impatience rose. British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a blistering opinion piece for the Sunday Times, said ''the growing weight of evidence'' suggests the rebels shot down the plane, and if that is so, ''this is a direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them.''

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose country lost 28 citizens in the tragedy, said Putin ''said all the right things'' during their telephone conversation about ensuring an international investigation into the disaster.

''I'm now going to try to ensure that as far as Australia humanly can, we insist upon these things happening,'' Abbott told Sydney Radio 2GB on Monday. ''The site is being treated more like

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