News / Europe

    Angry Australian PM: Ukraine Crash Site Probe 'Shambolic'

    • Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe inspect a refrigerator wagon, which according to employees and local residents contains bodies of passengers of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane, at a railway station in the town of Torez, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014.
    • Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014.
    • A rescue worker shows a flight data recorder to a colleague at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Hrabove July 18, 2014 in this still image taken from video. Rescue workers have recovered a "black box" flight recorder from the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner.
    • Churchgoers together with bishop Jan Hendriks (L) light some 298 candles, representing the victims of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane, before a mass in the Saint Bavo cathedral in Haarlem, the Netherlands, July 20, 2014.
    • From right: New South Wales Governor Marie Bashir, Margie Abbott, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Lady Lynne Cosgrove and Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove attend a mass at St. Mary's Cathedral commemorating victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, in Sydney, Australia, July 20, 2014.
    • Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry work at a crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014.
    • A delegate of the 20th International AIDS Conference ties a red ribbon to a memorial board as a tribute to colleagues killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Melbourne, Australia, July 20, 2014.
    • Delegates observe a minute's silence during the opening session, as a tribute to colleagues killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, July 20, 2014.
    • Malaysians pray during a special prayer for the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Malaysia, July 20, 2014.
    • Emergency workers carry the body of a victim at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
    • A local resident stands near flowers and mementos placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the settlement of Rozspyne in the Donetsk region, July 19, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian fighters walk on a road with victims' bodies lying in bags by the side at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
    • Emergency workers carry the body of a victim at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
    Images from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Crash
    VOA News

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Monday hit out at the "shambolic" situation at the MH17 crash site as he demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin back up assurances with action.

    At least 37 Australian passengers were among the 298 people aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, shot down over eastern Ukraine in an attack the West has blamed on separatist rebels armed by Russia.

    “This is still an absolutely shambolic situation, it is an absolutely shambolic situation. It does look more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

    “There's no doubt that at the moment the site is under the control of the Russian backed rebels and given the almost certain culpability of the Russian-backed rebels in the downing of the aircraft having those people in control of the site is a little like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene,” he said.

    Abbott, speaking on a breakfast radio show, said he had spoken “overnight” to  Putin for the first time about the disaster, amid mounting horror over the treatment of victims' remains.

    “To President Putin's credit he did say all the right things. I want to stress that what he said was fine," Abbott said. "The challenge now is to hold the president to his word, that's certainly my intention and it should be the intention of the family of nations to hold the president to his word."

    Putin statement

    Putin said on Monday the downing of the Malaysian airliner must not be used for political ends and urged separatists to allow international experts access to the crash site.

    “Everything must be done to guarantee the security of international experts at the site of the tragedy,” Putin said in televised comments.

    He reiterated his belief that the incident would not have happened if Ukrainian government forces had not ended a truce and resumed a military campaign against the pro-Russian separatists who have risen up in eastern Ukraine.

    “However nobody should - and no one has the right to - use  this tragedy to achieve selfish political ends. Such events should not divide people, but unite them,” he said. 

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, British counterpart David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande also piled pressure on Putin over the weekend in phone calls.

    Abbott, who has been critical of Russia's role in the disaster, said he had spoken to many Western leaders in the past two days and had noted “a much firmer and sterner mood” now.

    He has branded the plane's downing "a crime", and accused Moscow of trying to wash its hands of the tragedy while failing to properly secure the crash site.

    Moscow denies any involvement in the disaster.

    Australia is leading a push for a binding U.N. resolution that demands those responsible be held accountable and that armed groups do not compromise the crash site integrity.

    Diplomats said the U.N. Security Council could vote as early as Monday on an Australia-proposed resolution demanding international access to the Ukraine plane crash site and a cease-fire around the area.

    But Australia and Russia late Sunday were still working out key differences, and Britain accused Moscow of using "delaying tactics."

    The resolution calls for pro-Russia separatists to allow access to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet. It asks for the full cooperation of all countries in the region, including Russia.

    UN support

    Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said she expects all 15 council members to support her country's proposal.

    Bishop is in the United States to lead the lobbying for support of the resolution.

    She said it was "an utter outrage" that the site had been contaminated and evidence removed. "This is not a time to use bodies as hostages or pawns in a Ukrainian-Russian conflict," she told reporters in Washington.

    On Sunday, pro-Russian militiamen in Ukraine loaded almost 200 bodies from the flight into refrigerated train wagons. A rebel chief said they were holding them until "the experts arrive."

    Canberra wants a full and impartial investigation in the disaster, but Abbott said a key difficulty was that there was "no-one in authority in charge on the ground."

    But Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow is concerned the draft "does not accurately reflect the need for an impartial, international investigation."

    Churkin said Russia is proposing that the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, take the lead in the investigation. The current proposal welcomes "the decision by ICAO to send a team to assist" Ukrainian investigators.

    British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant accused Russia of proposing amendment after amendment to delay passage of the resolution.

    "It looks like a typical Russian delay in tactics, and one can guess why they want delay," Lyall Grant said.

    The resolution also demands that armed groups who control the crash site do not disturb debris, belongings or victims' remains and cease military activities in the area.

    US reaction

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia on Sunday for what he called "overwhelming evidence" of complicity in Thursday's downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine.

    In a series of appearances on Sunday news shows, Kerry said the evidence points to Russia supplying pro-Moscow separatists with a sophisticated SA-11 anti-aircraft system and then training separatists to use it.  

    He said U.S. authorities have seen video, taken after the crash, of a missile launcher with at least one rocket missing. He said that battery was moved back into Russian territory from rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Thursday's attack, which killed 298 people near the Russian border.    

    Kerry also voiced hope that the airline tragedy will galvanize support in Europe for more sanctions against Russia for its actions in eastern Ukraine in support of the pro-Russian separatists.

    France, Britain and Germany warned Moscow Sunday it could face new economic sanctions if it does not force rebels to allow investigators unrestricted access to the crash site. 

    Separatists so far have permitted only limited access to experts for short periods of time.

    Abbott is due to host Putin and other world leaders at the G20 Leaders Summit in November and is facing mounting calls to ban the Russian leader from participating.

    “I think we are getting ahead of ourselves. The G20 meeting doesn't take place until mid-November. It's four months away. There's a lot of water that will almost certainly flow under the bridge between now and November and I just think it's unhelpful to start speculating about what might happen in four months now,” he said.

    A 45-strong Australian investigation team was either in or heading to Kyiv, but had so far been unable to travel to the site despite some improvement in access.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Global from: universe
    July 21, 2014 8:19 AM
    How could Tony Abbott see "absolutely shambolic situation" at the place of forensic investigation from Canberra? Is he become a clairvoyant, that could determine culpables without forensic investigation?
    In Response

    by: Beni from: Hawaii
    July 21, 2014 5:45 PM
    Just look at the photos! Every Tom, Dick and Harry walking around the wreckage picking through the debris. Disgusting and shameful!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.