Outrage over the inability of international teams to get unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines MH17 is increasingly focusing on Moscow, with Britain’s prime minster blasting the Kremlin in an editorial.
“[This] is a direct result of Russia destabilising a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them,” he wrote in the Sunday Times referring to Moscow’s support of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
The harsh words come amid reports that separatist rebels in the area where the plane was brought down Thursday, by what is widely believed to have been a surface-to-air missile, had taken 196 bodies from the crash site where 298 people were killed.
USA Today says: “Reports Saturday of how the bodies were decaying in Ukraine fields drew strong outrage worldwide, especially from the Netherlands, home to over half the victims. 192 bodies have been recovered from the crash site so far.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the Netherlands was “angry, furious” over news that bodies were being moved at the crash site and not being treated properly, Reuters reports.
“We are already shocked by the news we got today of bodies being dragged around, of the site not being treated properly,” he said.
In other developments:
— A separatist leader is telling the media that his group will guarantee the safety of crash site observers in exchange for a Kiev-backed truce, says The Guardian.
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko told Reuters, “We will not tolerate interference with the work of the commission.”
— The U.N. Security Council is considering an Australian-drafted resolution condemning the “shooting down” of the airliner. The resolution would also demand armed groups allow access to the crash site and call on states in the region to cooperate with the international investigation.
The draft is being circulated to security council members and diplomats by Australia, which lost 28 citizens.
— The International AIDS Conference begins in Melbourne, under the grim shadow of the crash and with some of its top thinkers missing. Six AIDS researchers and advocates were aboard the plane, bound for the conference.
“Those on MH17 all worked so hard in the science and community response to HIV – losing all six of them is a major loss,” conference co-chair and pressor of infectious diseases Sharon Lewin told The Guardian.
Conferees will pay respects to the dead at the opening ceremony Sunday night with one minute of silence.
“Everyone is devastated, of course, and it’s not just an accident — it’s a direct killing, it’s murder, which makes it even more gruesome,” said the director of Dutch HIV support organization Ton Coenen.