Ukraine Rebels Retain Control of Crash Victims' Bodies, Black Boxes

World | July 20, 2014, Sunday // 16:02
Bulgaria: Ukraine Rebels Retain Control of Crash Victims' Bodies, Black Boxes An armed rebel commander gestures towards the media while guarding the train with refirgerated coaches that carry the bodies of the victims of Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which crashed during flying over the eastern Ukraine region, at the ra

Pro-Russian separatists are still keeping custody of about 200 (out of 298) victims of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777's plane crash in Eastern Ukraine.

Kiev officials, but also representatives of the militiamen, say international experts have limited access to the site of the wreckage.

The "Donetsk People's Republic"'s press office declared that the visit of an international team was being put off.

Alexander Boroday, who announced the news, was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying the inspection had not been canceled on the "republic"'s request, but was more likely to have been advisedly protracted by Ukrainian officials.

Boroday also argued the aircraft's black boxes had been seized by rebels and were now in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine's fifth-largest city which has been under activist control for months.

Russia's RIA Novosti agency, for its part, reports bodies of victims had also been transported to Donetsk, while the BBC quotes "emergency workers" as saying they are in the town of Torez, near the site of the incident.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Spokesman Andriy Lysenko says the 196 bodies which emergency personnel from the country had managed to recover had been handed over to the separatists, after the latter forced the workers into doing so.

Michael Bociurkiw, who leads an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) mission to the region, explained monitors were allowed "a brief inspection" by armed guards of the Donetsk People's Republic, "the ones in charge of that area".

Kiev and Washington maintain they have conclusive evidence that it was rebels who downed the plane, while rebels operating in the Donbass put the blame on Ukrainian authorities.

US intelligence reports earlier suggested the Boeing-777 had been shot down by a missile, and according to later information it was purportedly fired from a rebel-controlled chunk in the east of Ukraine.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko even claims his country has "satellite images" at disposal to prove the separatists' responsibility and also the implication of Russia, with the latter having provided the missile system used to down the machine.

He has also declared intentions to submit an international request that the "Donetsk People's Republic" and the "Luhansk People's Republic" be declared terrorist organizations.

Moscow has denied involvement and has explained Kiev also has the military capacities to target the plane.

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Tags: Malaysia Airlines, Boeing 777, Ukraine, Russia, Andriy Lysenko, Petro Poroshenko, Donetsk, Torez, OSCE, Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, Michael Bociurkiw, Alexander Boroday, Donbass
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