News / Asia

Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

FILE - Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a press conference in Sydney, Australia, July 19, 2014.
FILE - Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a press conference in Sydney, Australia, July 19, 2014.

Australia's prime minister is alleging a "cover-up" amid tampering of evidence at the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies the crashed plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials.

Prime minister Abbott says Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has so far been “as good as his word” by approving a U.N. Security Council resolution guaranteeing safe access for international monitors at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
 
But Abbott, speaking to reporters in Canberra, complains about what has been happening amid the bodies and wreckage before investigators arrived.

He describes the most recent video from the scene as looking like a “building demolition.”

“After the crime, comes the cover-up. What we have seen is evidence of tampering on an industrial scale and obviously that has to stop,” he said.

Black boxes

Malaysian officials have taken possession of the downed plane's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder. They were handed over by pro-Russia separatists who control the area where the Boeing 777 came down in pieces last Thursday. All 298 people aboard died.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak negotiated directly via telephone with a rebel leader to arrange the hand over of the aircraft’s so-called black boxes. He also says the agreement includes releasing all human remains and full access to the site by an international team.

"Only then can the investigation into MH17 truly begin; only then can the victims be afforded the respect they deserve," he said.

A White House spokesman, reacting to the Malaysian leader’s active engagement with the separatists in Ukraine, called it “entirely understandable” considering the circumstances.

Blaming separatists, Russia

Malaysia lost 44 citizens (including 15 crew members) on the plane. The Netherlands had 198 of its citizens on the plane. At least 27 Australians were on the flight.

Those countries are joining the United States and Ukraine in blaming the crash on a surface-to-air missile fired by separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The degree of Russia’s responsibility and involvement in a possible cover-up are being intensely discussed in the diplomatic and intelligence communities.

Russia’s ambassador to Malaysia, Lyudmila Vorobyeva, on Tuesday denied any such involvement of her government or that of the separatists.

"The rebels do not possess any defense systems that are capable of shooting a plane at the altitude of ten kilometers. They do not have this kind of systems. Russia has never supplied this kind of system," said Vorobyeva.

The ambassador says the West is playing games - “blaming someone and accusing some parties without any evidence.”

After the ambassador’s remarks to reporters, several hundred protesters - organized by the youth wing of Malaysia’s largest political party (UMNO), gathered outside the Russian Embassy.

Placard-waiving demonstrators chanted “we want justice.”

Carrier's future in doubt

The downing of Flight 17 is the second tragedy this year for Malaysia and its flag carrier. Its Flight 370, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, vanished on March 8 after veering far off course and no trace of it has been found.

The back-to-back disasters have aviation analysts expressing skepticism the state-owned carrier will survive for long in its present form after three previous government bailouts.

The airline finds itself confronting fresh outage after confirming that one of its passenger jets flew over another war zone, Syria, just days after the MH17 disaster.

Flight 4 from London to Kuala Lumpur re-routed over Syria on Sunday following the closure of its usual path over Ukraine.

The airline, in a statement, says the route, was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization and not was not restricted airspace.

That is the same explanation the airline had following the shoot-down of Flight 17.

  • A guard rides on a train carrying the remains of victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17 downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine as it arrives in the city of Kharkiv, under Kyiv's control, July 22, 2014.
  • Police officers secure a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it arrives at a Kharkiv factory for a stop, July 22, 2014.
  • An armed pro-Russian separatist stands guard as OSCE monitors and a team of Malaysian air crash investigators inspect the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near Hrabove, Ukraine, July 22, 2014.
  • A Malaysian air crash investigator inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, July 22, 2014.
  • Two KLM cabin crew reach out into a sea of flowers at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, July 22, 2014.
  • Emergency workers carry a victim's body in a plastic bag at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 21, 2014.
  • Malaysian diplomats stand as Ukrainian President Petro Porosheko expresses his condolences outside the Malaysian Embassy in Kyiv, July 21, 2014.
  • A paramedic walks in charred debris at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 20, 2014.
  • Toys and flowers are placed on the charred fuselage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 20, 2014.
  • A girl holding a candle squats next to candles forming MH17 during an event to mourn the victims of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 20, 2014.
  • Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry gather the remains of victims at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, 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, eastern Ukraine, July 20, 2014.
  • A 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, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.

 

 

 


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 22, 2014 6:57 PM
The Australin PM sees the particular situation at the crash site quite well. Reports in the media indicate that some large pieces have been driven away... as expected, those pieces will be reworked, and then will magically reapear/be returned, probably demonstrating either an internal critical component failure, or even an internally originated explosion. In my opinion, enough waters will be muddied with the remenants of the aircraft, to give some of the usual EU apologists a way out, so that nothing further needs to be done = findings inconclusive, too many opposing issues, leading to many potential possible causes, including not rulling a missile in or out.


by: Marcus
July 22, 2014 1:58 PM
Russia should be removed from its seat at the United Nations until such time as those responsible for shooting down the Malaysian aircraft, are put on trial at the Hague. The responsibility for this extradition must rest with Russia. The choice is theirs.


by: Common Sense from: US
July 22, 2014 10:40 AM
The Russian's actions remind me of a small child who spilled his milk at the table and then denies responsibility, even though all of the adults witnessed the accident. Leadership requires integrity and accountability for ones actions.

In Response

by: Common Sense from: US
July 22, 2014 2:41 PM
I am unable to draw a correlation from that statement. Are you suggesting politicians in the US are somehow related to this topic of discussion or are you just using this forum to address an unrelated issue? I personally don't stand on either side of the aisle.

Regardless of an obvious campaign by some to blur reality and create an atmosphere of doubt, the totality of facts and circumstances in this situation are already crystal clear. The delays and antics of “rebels” at the scene of the crime only helps to solidify this point. Does leadership in Russia have the strength and integrity to move these people away from damage control mode and stand before the world to admit mistakes were made?

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 22, 2014 12:40 PM
Is that why Obama and the Democrats always blamed Bush, for their incompetence?


by: Citizen 213212432 from: Earth
July 22, 2014 9:48 AM
The one-sided accusation is not surprising in light of their long-time stance on the crisis in eastern Ukraine, and their attitude towards Russia’s absorption of Crimea in March. But without convincing evidence, jumping to a conclusion will only heighten regional tension and is not conducive to finding out the truth.

Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday said it is Ukraine that bears the responsibility as the tragedy occurred over its territory. The tragedy, Putin said, could have been avoided should Ukraine’s eastern regions be in peace.

In Response

by: Crabbieappleton from: Neverwhere
July 22, 2014 12:04 PM
Of course. All armed separatists should be given what they want.

I will remember Putin's advice the next time he wants sympathy for anything than happens as a result of Chechnya.

In Response

by: John from: Ether
July 22, 2014 10:58 AM
"Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday said it is Ukraine that bears the responsibility as the tragedy occurred over its territory."

Excellent!! Then I can let my dog take his morning constitutional on Vladamir's lawn and not have to accept responsibility......not my lawn.


by: John from: USA
July 22, 2014 9:47 AM
Where is the proof of 'Coverup'?

In Response

by: Brasso from: Canberra
July 23, 2014 9:30 PM
Separatist members used a diesel chainsaw to open up the cockpit in order to get the flight recorders. All this well before any attempt to seal off the area, search or collect remains. If its not an attempt to pervert the course of justice, then its a bloody good imitation!


by: Baldur Dasche from: Bulgaria
July 22, 2014 9:38 AM
Where's the proof? Liker the noise coming out of Kyiv - they at least have a war on - there is very little evidence to back up the charges flying about Putin, Russian involvement, or even who did it.

The PM of Australia has his biases, they're evident again. For a world statesman, he leaves himself very little wiggle room and no credibility if the story we've been fed about this tragedy turns out to be wrong. The hysterics in Kyiv have been demonstrably wrong in many of their claims and assertions.

Making up your mind because of an emotional reaction may be natural, but it indicates a disconnect of the mental from the limbic system, a massive fail in a leader' anywhere. Hopefully not an Aussie trait.

In Response

by: dwwaddell from: Houston, TX
July 22, 2014 11:09 AM
Is this BUK missile launcher that shot down MH17 being smuggled back to Russia: Motorist captures military truck carrying BUK M1 in border town? From the Daily Mail http://goo.gl/xKt8bl


by: Wycliffe Nzioki from: Nairobi
July 22, 2014 9:20 AM
Should the victimised countries keep relying on investigation or rather demand the masterminds be brought to justice after investigations.Justice including waring them (Russia-Putin and his crook boys-rebels)


by: Riquin from: US
July 22, 2014 8:04 AM
Putin needs to resign, Russia needs a better government. Putin lives in the past with friends like Castro, etc. The new Russian generation needs a responsible leader to move Russia economically, currently Russia has a lot of economic problems and now we see Putin losing control of recalcitrant subjects as we see and it is demonstrated by the assassination of civilian travelers flying the plane destroyed by a Russian missile.

PUTIN RESIGN NOW!!!!


In Response

by: Alexander from: Russia
July 23, 2014 2:17 AM
We're proud to have such president as Mr. Putin. You got no idea what you're talking about. There is no economic problems in the country. All EU/US sanctions imposed on Russia can trigger hatred against mentioned. And yet CIA got no evidence of Russia involvment into the downing the passenger jet. In 1988 you Americans brought down a Iran Air Airbus A300B2-203 and then....nothing. No apologises, no condolences, no sanctions. Why? Cause you're authorised to perform such kind of things or something? It's better to chew gum than keep your mouth full open with anything intellegent inside.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 22, 2014 10:56 AM
Mr. Roderick F. Mollison from Chicago, "Hurrah for you" well said....

In Response

by: Roderick F.Mollison from: Chicago
July 22, 2014 9:57 AM
You should consider Mark Twain's remark that it is better to remain silent and be thought to be perhaps a fool rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt Mr. Riquin.
So let us await the results of the investigation and the full disclosure of the radar ATC tapes before we make silly remarks.


by: James McQuaid from: Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A.
July 22, 2014 7:55 AM
Ambassador Vorobyeva typifies the lack of character of the Russians. These people have no shame or decency, and should be shuttered into the night.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid