Anger towards Russia grows over MH17 crash

Anger towards Russia grows over MH17 crash

GRABOVE, Ukraine - International anger towards Russia mounted Sunday after armed separatists denied full access to inspectors and rebels were accused of tampering with evidence at the crash site of the Malaysian MH17 jet in eastern Ukraine.

Outraged world leaders demanded Russia's full cooperation into the shooting down of the Kuala Lumpur-bound flight from Amsterdam with 298 people from a dozen countries on board, as Ukraine warned rebels were "hours away" from removing key evidence across the Russian border.

US Secretary of State John Kerry led the global chorus of disapproval by telling Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a telephone call, that Washington was "deeply concerned" investigators were denied "proper access" to the crash site for a second consecutive day.

"The United States is also very concerned about reports that the remains of some victims and debris from the site are being tampered with or inappropriately removed from the site," the State Department said.

Kerry was backed by leaders from Britain, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia and France - as well as Ukraine - in calling on Russian president Vladimir Putin to cooperate more in helping an international investigation begin and recover the bodies of the 298 victims.

There was growing concern about the whereabouts of some of the bodies which had been removed from the crash site, while others were left lying in field in the rural part of eastern Ukraine where the Boeing 777 jet was brought to ground.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, writing in the Sunday Times newspaper, said: "Russia can use this moment to find a path out of this festering, dangerous crisis. I hope it will do so. But if that does not happen then we must respond robustly."

He called for tougher European action against Moscow.

"If President Putin does not change his approach on Ukraine, then Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia." Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte - his tiny nation mourning the loss of 192 compatriots - said he had called on Russian President Vladimir Putin during a "very intense" conversation to "take responsibility" for a credible investigation.

Rutte also backs stronger European action against Moscow.

At the crash site, gunmen showed few signs of being ready to cooperate with an investigation that could blame them for blowing apart the Boeing 777 jet.

International monitors were met on Saturday by Kalashnikov-wielding militias who allowed them access to only the outskirts of the field - its swaying sunflowers hiding dismembered remains of charred and decomposing bodies of victims whose lives were cut short on Thursday.

The Ukrainian government issued a furious statement declaring that "terrorists with the support of Russia are trying to destroy proof of this international crime".

Kiev said armed fighters were hours away from loading vital clues aboard trucks that would be rushed across the Russian border before a full team of experts inspected the expansive site where remains of flight MH17 hit the ground.

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