Conflicting 'Proof' Offered Over Ukraine Plane Crash Amid Hampered Investigation
Published: July 21, 2014 (Issue # 1820)
As the fallout over the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH 17 continued into a fourth day Monday, international investigators conducting recovery efforts for the 298 victims complained of further setbacks, and Russia's Defense Ministry offered what it claimed was definitive proof of Ukraine's involvement in the tragedy.
Dutch forensic investigators who had recently arrived to a city not far from the crash site in eastern Ukraine told the armed separatists guarding train cars full of bodies from the downed jet that the train must be allowed to leave within hours.
The experts from the Dutch National Forensic Investigations Team — which specializes in victim recovery and identification — also pressed for the train cars parked near the rebel-held town of Torez to be sealed. AP journalists at the site said the smell of decay was overwhelming.
By early evening, however, there were reports of further delays and it was unclear when the victims' bodies would arrive at their destination, the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that the latest hold-up was due to "damaged train tracks."
Repatriation a Priority
International experts headed for the crash site Monday, accompanied by monitors from the OSCE. The delegation of experts included 23 specialists from the Netherlands — which lost the most nationals in the crash — as well as two experts each from Germany and the U.S., one from Britain and three from Australia.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country lost 192 citizens in the tragedy, told a news conference that repatriating the bodies was his number one priority.
More bodies were found at the sprawling crash site Monday, but the recovery effort suffered another setback with a power outage in the refrigerated train holding more than 200 of the dead.
The shambolic attempts to investigate by the pro-Russia separatists who control the verdant farmland where pieces of the plane crashed to the ground have fanned widespread international outrage, especially from the nations whose citizens were on the doomed plane.
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