News / Europe

Kerry: Concerned Bodies, Evidence Taken From Ukraine Plane Crash Site

A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
VOA News

The local department of an emergency ministry in eastern Ukraine said Sunday 196 bodies of the 298 passengers and crew on board the downed Malaysia Airlines flight have been recovered three days after the crash.   

It was not immediately clear where the bodies are being stored.

However, Reuters news agency reported Sunday railway workers said bodies from the downed plane are in refrigerated wagons at a train station in the town of Torez, 15 kilometers from the site.  

There has been international outrage and concern about the contamination of the crash site before investigators were allowed access, which continues to be limited by pro-Russian rebels in control of the area. 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is "very concerned" about reports that debris and bodies from the downed airliner have been taken from the crash site.

The State Department says Kerry spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by telephone Saturday. He reportedly told Lavrov he also is concerned that European monitors are not being given proper access to the crash site.  

Additionally, Kerry again urged Russia to take immediate action to stop the flow of weapons and fighters to pro-Russian separatists in the east.

Russia's Interfax news agency said Lavrov agreed that all physical evidence - including the vital black box recorders - be made available to investigators.

On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the crash site as "absolutely chaotic."

He told Australian television that he summoned the Russian trade minister to express his "concerns and dissatisfaction with the way this has been handled. Russian-controlled territory, Russian-backed rebels, quite likely a Russian-supplied weapon - Russia can't wash its hands of this," he told the minister.

Abbot said he fears tampering with the evidence will continue because there is "no one in authority on the ground."  He said, "My fear is that Russia will say the right thing, but that on the ground interference with the site, interference with investigators, interference with the dignified treatment of the bodies will continue."

Ukraine connects dots

Ukraine's counterintelligence chief said his country has "compelling evidence" that shows Russians played a role in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines flight over a separatist-controlled region near the Russian border.     

During a Saturday news conference, Vitaly Nada said separatist rebels do not have the training to operate a high-tech BUK-1 missile launcher.

"To operate BUK-1 you need to have a military education and to be well-trained. We know for sure that the team was Russian, there were Russian citizens operating BUK-1, and they came from the territory of the Russian federation together with the missile launcher," he said.

Thursday's missile strike killed all 298 people onboard the plane.

At a news conference late Saturday, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said additional pressure has to be put on Russia.

"What we need now is clear international pressure also on Russia, because Russia has influence on these 'terrorists,' to provide clear and unhindered access to the place of the crash," said Klimkin.

Ukraine has accused Russia of assisting pro-Russian separatists in destroying evidence at the crash site. The government on Saturday said the rebels have removed 38 bodies from the site and taken them to the insurgent-controlled city of Donetsk. It said the bodies were transported with the assistance of "specialists with clearly Russian accents."  

But, Alexander Borodai, a Russian citizen who is the self-declared leader of Ukraine's Donetsk region, said separatists had not interfered with the crash site.

Also, reporters in the area of the crash said Saturday that armed rebels had fired warning shots to prevent them from reaching the scene.

Cameron weigns in

British Prime Minister David Cameron, writing in London's The Sunday Times newspaper, says if this is the case, it is a direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state and training and arming thuggish militias.

Cameron said too many European countries have been reluctant to face up to what is happening in eastern Ukraine. He writes that the West must change its approach to Russia and make Western power, influence and resources count.

Malaysian official traveling to Ukraine

Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai was traveling to Ukraine on Saturday to join officials who are assisting in the crash probe. Speaking before he left for Kyiv, Liow said vital evidence at the crash site had been tampered with. He called it a "betrayal" of the lives lost in the disaster.  

He also said the Malaysia Airlines flight was on its proper path when it was downed.

"It followed a route which was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol, and used by hundreds of other aircraft. If flew at an altitude set and deemed safe by the local air traffic control, and it never strayed into restricted airspace," he said.

Malaysia Airlines says it is no longer flying planes over Ukrainian airspace, instead routing its aircraft over Turkey.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur Thursday when it was shot down.

  • Emergency workers carry a stretcher with a victim's body in a bag at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
  • Flowers are placed on a plane engine at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.
  • A woman holds an anti-Putin placard to protest the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in Sydney, Australia, July 19, 2014.
  • Passengers' belongings are pictured at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 before a visit by OSCE monitors, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 18, 2014.
  • People bring flowers and candles to the Dutch embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, to commemorate the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash.
  • People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine.
  • A relative of passengers on flight MH17 cries as he waits in a bus to be transported to an unknown location to receive more information, at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • People take photos of a screen showing arrival details of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 (C) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
  • A woman reacts to news regarding a Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia.
  • The upper floor of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is closed for media and reserved for family and relatives of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17.
  • A relative walks past members of the press as he arrives at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Smoke rises up at a crash site of a passenger plane, near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine.
  • A part of the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane is seen after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.
  • The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.
  • The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.
  • The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen at the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.

Nearly 200 of the passengers were Dutch nationals. The International AIDS Society says there were at least six delegates on the plane who where traveling to an  AIDS conference in Australia, including former IAS President Joep Lange.  

Other victims include 44 Malaysians, 28 Australians and 12 Indonesians.  Several people each from Britain, Germany, Belgium, Vietnam and the Philippines also were killed, along with one each from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong.  The crew of 15 were all Malaysians.

An "outrage of unspeakable proportions"

President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room of the White House, July 18, 2014.President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room of the White House, July 18, 2014.
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room of the White House, July 18, 2014.
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room of the White House, July 18, 2014.


On Friday, President Barack Obama said the United States is confident a surface-to-air missile shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine and that it was fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The U.S. leader called the deaths of 298 passengers and crew an "outrage of unspeakable proportions."

The president stopped short of directly blaming any specific person or group for shooting down the plane, but he said Ukrainian separatists are known to have received a steady stream of support from Russia, including heavy weapons, anti-aircraft weapons and training.

Obama said Russian President Putin has the most control over the situation in Ukraine, but has not used it to work toward a peaceful settlement.



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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Igor from: Russia
July 21, 2014 10:57 PM
The rebels has handed over the black boxes to Malaysian authority so Mr. Kerry must stop utter lies about them.

by: Stacy from: Florida
July 21, 2014 6:00 PM
What comes around goes around... Russians & Ukrainians involved will pay for their stupidity!

by: meanbill from: USA
July 20, 2014 8:39 PM
The (fabricated evidence and falsified reports), that US Secretary of State Colin Powell testified to as being factual truths, (in a history recorded UN transcript dated February 05, 2003), and used to convince the UN and the world, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and was ready to use them on his neighbors, that resulted in the Iraq war? .... (Kerry's testimony mirrors Powell's, doesn't it?).

NOW it's hard to believe anything the US Secretary of State Kerry says is the truth? .... more US (fabricated evidence and falsified reports), from anonymous sources, and an unknown unidentified AP reporter, and fuzzy photographs taken at unidentified locations, and expert testimony from non-experts.... (Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me).
In Response

by: Ivanov from: Russia
July 21, 2014 4:57 AM
They make case with evidence they put in the srash. If Americans go to crash, then they will put evidence against Russia. Is what they do. Why we shoot plane from sky? No sense! Russia no kill innoecent, only US do kill innocents.

by: Nicole Thomas from: United States
July 20, 2014 7:06 PM
Do you kmow that AerSale a FL and NM based aircraft fleet supplier are probably involved. They train pilots from Moldavia Saudi and the Ukrani

by: Rog from: NY
July 20, 2014 4:45 AM
Russia is a threat to global peace. It kills not only Ukrainians but already us!

by: Valentine from: Lagos
July 20, 2014 1:55 AM
This tragedy is devilish n the crime unspeakable.
However, this is a litmus text for Europe's integrity n power. Very very interesting!
If an African country downed that Malaysian plane, UN n Europe forces would ve landed smartly by now.

by: Faro from: Spain
July 20, 2014 12:39 AM
Putin is a main terrorist of the World!

by: francis parr from: Peruggia
July 19, 2014 10:51 PM
I think investigation should be undertaken by the american government. They're very good at dealing with any investigation concerning planes.
In Response

by: Jacob Essau from: Zimbawe
July 20, 2014 4:36 AM
Who said Americans are the policeman of the world. 300 palastineans are dead no investigations but the same number of the master race die there is hallabaloo. What Double standards!!!

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 19, 2014 1:47 PM
So sad,even the EU can't stand up to Putin's Russia despite losing its citizens ,a Visa ban for all Russian citizen as a united stand by the EU till Putin descalates and disarm his puppets separatist.
In Response

by: inessa from: ukraine
July 20, 2014 3:13 AM
So you're okay with the Pro-Nazis genocide? I thought that you are from Africa. Don't you know what is genocide?

by: Truesage Idowu from: Lagos Nigeria
July 19, 2014 1:46 PM
It is not enough to just criticize the downing of this passenger plane, there has to be actions against those that perpetrated this evil. Or is it because its a Malaysian Airline that is involved?
Netherlands, Malaysia, Britain, Germany, United states, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, New Zeland, Hong Kong, Belgium and the rest of the world must react against Russia and Ukraine by firstly closing down their embassies and nationalizing all Russia and Ukraine investments in their countries.
Secondly, the matter should be taken to the International Criminal Courts for justice to be done.
Thirdly FIFA must cancel the next world cup due to hold in Russia and ban all football activities in Russia and Ukraine. Failure to do this will mean a boy court of that world cup by all countries. All foreign players must be made to register with FIFA and leave Russia and Ukraine unconditionally.
Lastly, Russia and Ukraine must be fined at the International Criminal Court and made to pay for damages when eventually it is proved that they are guilty of these mass murders. I hope a covert operation to retaliate is never considered. "It will betray aviation users and will not punish the masterminds of this callous act".
Civilian aircraft must now be redesigned to carry radar system to detect incoming BUK Missiles and enhanced with advance weaponry to neutralize such threats.
In Response

by: Tun Lwin from: Myanmar
July 19, 2014 9:33 PM
Yes of course, but what you mention will not come true as leaders are saying words only.
Comments page of 2

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