HRABOVE: US. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that the evidence indicates that a Russian missile was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, while Britain said Moscow faced “pariah” status and the threat of further economic sanctions.
At the biggest crash site, where emergency workers had bagged dozens of bodies on Saturday, all had been removed on Sunday morning. Empty, bloodstained military stretchers that had been used to carry them lay by the road, and rescue workers used a crane to move wreckage to reach human remains trapped beneath.
As Ukraine accused separatist rebels of hiding evidence relating to Thursday’s tragedy in eastern Ukraine, a pro-Russian separatist leader said items thought to be the stricken Boeing’s “black boxes” were now in rebel hands.
With Western anger rising at the apparently disrespectful treatment of the bodies by the rebels controlling the widely spread crash sites, nearly 200 corpses were taken to be stored on a refrigerated train at Torez, 15 km (9 miles) away.
“It’s corpses. They brought the bodies overnight,” a duty officer at the town’s station told Reuters.
Moscow denies involvement in the tragedy and has blamed the Ukrainian military. But Washington and its allies point the finger at the pro-Russian separatists who have Moscow’s backing and have been accused of obstructing access to the crash sites.
Kerry said the United States had seen supplies moving into Ukraine from Russia in the last month, including a 150-vehicle convoy of armored personnel carriers, tanks and rocket launchers given to the separatists.
The United States had intercepted conversations about the transfer to separatists of the Russian radar-guided SA11 missile system it blames for the downing of the Boeing 777, he said.
“It’s pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia,” Kerry said in an interview on CNN.
Britain said Moscow could find itself isolated if it did not use its influence to ensure safe access to the crash sites and cooperate with international investigators. “Russia risks becoming a pariah state if it does not behave properly,” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sky television. The downing of the airliner with the loss of nearly 300 lives has sharply escalated the crisis in Ukraine, and may mark a pivotal moment in international efforts to resolve a situation in which separatists in the Russian-speaking east have been fighting government forces since protesters in Kiev forced out a pro-Moscow president and Russia annexed Crimea.
EU ministers should be ready to announce a fresh round of sanctions at a meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council this week, said a statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office, issued after telephone calls with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“They ... agreed that the EU must reconsider its approach to Russia and that foreign ministers should be ready to impose further sanctions on Russia when they meet on Tuesday,” the statement said.
The leaders also agreed to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure investigators had free access to the crash site.
While Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued a renewed appeal for backing from the international community, some European nations, with an eye to their trade links with Russia, have been less enthusiastic about confronting Moscow.
The United Nations Security Council was considering a draft resolution to condemn the attack, demand armed groups allow access to the crash sites and call on states in the region to cooperate with an international investigation. It could be put to a vote as early as Monday.
The Netherlands, whose citizens made up two-thirds of the 298 on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, said it was “furious” about the manhandling of corpses strewn over open country and asked Ukraine for help to bring “our people” home.
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