Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Kerry Says Separatists Used Russian Missile To Down Plane

  • Smoke rises above the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Hrabove in the Donetsk region on July 17.
  • Part of the wreckage of the passenger jet which was strewn over an area of several miles. 
  • An armed pro-Russian separatist stands at one of the main crash sites on July 17.
  • Another pro-Russian separatist looks at wreckage from the nose section of the airliner near the village of Rozsypne on July 18. 
  • A white flag marks the location of the remnants of a body at a crash site on July 18. 
  • A journalist takes photographs at a crash site on July 18.
  • A local resident stands amid the wreckage at one of the crash sites near Hrabove on July 19.
  • Passengers' personal belongings and luggage amid the debris of the Boeing 777 jet. 
  • A pro-Russian separatist holds a child's stuffed toy found at one of the crash sites.
  • The pro-Russian self-styled governor of the breakaway Donetsk republic Pavel Gubarev (center) arrives to inspect one of the main crash sites.
  • Armed pro-Russian militants walk past a large piece of wreckage in a field near Donetsk.
  • OSCE monitors speak with a pro-Russian separatist about gaining access to a crash site near Hrabove on July 18. 
  • Ukrainian rescue workers carry the body of a victim away from a crash site on a stretcher through a wheat field near Hrabove on July 19. 
  • OSCE monitors and journalists look on as a pro-Russian separatist stands guard near bodies taken from a crash site. 
  • People hold candles during a candlelight vigil for victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, in Kuala Lumpur on July 19. 
PHOTO GALLERY: The Aftermath Of The Downing Of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says separatists in eastern Ukraine used a surface-to-air missile from Russia to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines plane on July 17.

"It's pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia into the hands of separatists," said Kerry on CNN's "State Of The Union" program on July 20.

He added that the United States knew "with confidence" that the Ukrainian government did not have a Buk missile launcher in the vicinity of the attack, which killed 298 all people on board.

Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed leader of a separatist region in eastern Ukraine said the so-called black boxes from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 had been found and will be given to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Aleksandr Borodai, the self-styled prime minister of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic," said at a press conference in Donetsk on July 20 that pro-Russian separatists had what appeared to be the black boxes from the airliner, which crashed on July 17.

Borodai said rebel forces had recovered "some items, presumably the black boxes," and said they were delivered to the eastern city of Donetsk, which is controlled by the separatists.

Different separatist leaders have claimed at various times in the past three days to have had one or both of the black boxes and later denied having either of them.

WATCH: Emergency workers seemingly find a "black box" from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 (natural sound).

Відео знайденої «чорної скриньки»i
July 20, 2014
20 липня Reuters оприлюднило кадри, де «чорну скриньку» знаходять на місці катастрофи «Боїнга-777». Відео зняте 18 липня.

Separatist forces control the area -- near the town of Torez, close to the Russian border -- where the airliner and 298 people onboard crashed.

Officials say 223 bodies of the people aboard the downed airliner have been taken from the fields in eastern Ukraine where they had been lying since the crash.

Some reports said it was unclear where the bodies had been taken but the Reuters news agency said railway workers claimed at least some of the bodies had been taken to refrigeration wagons at the train station in Torez, some 15 kilometers from the crash site.

Ukrainian emergency services spokeswoman Nataliya Bystro said government workers and rebels had gathered the bodies but she added that the rebels then took the bodies to an unknown location.

Russian TV channel Rossia-24 reported that the bodies had been taken to the morgue in the city of Donetsk.

There were also reports that "Donetsk People's Republic" self-styled deputy prime minister, Andrei Purgin, has given a guarantee of safety to international experts to visit the site of the crash if Kyiv agrees to a truce.

A monitoring team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been able to visit the site briefly each of the last three days but members of the OSCE team said separatist fighters treated the monitors rudely and did not allow them full access to the crash scene.

Ukrainian Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a July 20 news conference that pro-Russian separatists were "doing everything to hide the evidence of the involvement of Russian missiles in the shooting down of that airliner."

Lysenko also claimed Russia is continuing to supply the separatists with "heavy weaponry."

International Outrage

In the Netherlands, where the ill-fated Malaysian airliner departed the day it was shot down, church services called for prayers for those killed and their relatives.

Most of the passengers aboard the plane, at least 193, were Dutch citizens.

The chairman of the Dutch Bishops Conference, Cardinal Wim Eijk, called on worshippers to "pray for strength and courage for the relatives" of those lost in the plane tragedy.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has expressed outrage at reports that the bodies of at least some of those killed when the Malaysian airliner was shot down have been rifled by looters and that attempts have been made to use credit cards belonging to the deceased.

Rutte has made several phone calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing his disgust at the situation at the crash scene and calling on Putin to use his influence to convince the separatists in eastern Ukraine to cooperate with international recovery efforts and an investigation.

Outrage has been growing at the delay in allowing representatives of Malaysia Airlines, international air safety experts ,and others to access the site and properly retrieve the bodies of the deceased and conduct an investigation into the causes of the crash.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbot criticized the situation at the crash scene as being "absolutely chaotic."

More than 30 Australian citizens and permanent residents were aboard the Malaysian airliner.

At a church service Abbot attended, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Peter Comensoli called the tragedy "the outcome of a trail of human evil."

The office of French President Francois Hollande released a statement on July 20 saying Hollande had spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The statement said the three agreed "to demand from Mr. Putin today that he ensure that Ukrainian separatists allow emergency workers and investigators free and complete access" to the site where the airliner crashed after being shot down.

The statement also said that if Russia "does not immediately take the necessary measures, consequences will be drawn by the European Union at the Foreign Affairs Council which takes place" on July 22.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, UNIAN, Reuters, and AFP, AP

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