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Kiev sabotaging probe into downed Malaysian plane – self-defense leader

Published time: July 24, 2014 03:02
Edited time: July 24, 2014 13:55
A part of the fuselage of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured in a field near the village of Grabove, in the Donetsk region, on July 23, 2014. (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

A part of the fuselage of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured in a field near the village of Grabove, in the Donetsk region, on July 23, 2014. (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Kiev is not interested in a fair and unbiased investigation into the downing of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine, so it is sabotaging the work of international experts, one of the self-defense forces leaders said on Wednesday.

Kiev’s authorities have been obstructing the international investigation into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane since day one, Deputy Prime Minister of People's Republic of Donetsk Andrey Purgin told Russia-24 TV channel on Wednesday.

Purgin said it became clear that Kiev is sabotaging the probe two days after the incident, when international experts were not let into the area, as Kiev claimed it could not guarantee their safety.

Kiev simply refused to accompany the international experts, Purgin stated. The Malaysian group of experts made it down to the crash alone, with no security from Kiev.

More disturbing news is awaiting verification, as according to the DNR PM Aleksandr Boroday, speaking to RIA Novosti by phone, a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet attempted to shoot at a group of Malaysian and OSCE experts working at the scene of the Boeing crash on Wednesday.

“Another group of Malaysian and OSCE experts has arrived at the scene of the Boeing crash. They were fired upon by an Su-25,” he said.

A group of three Dutch experts at the crash site, guarded by local defense forces, is continuing to work.

The news came just as local residents in the city of Torez, 20km from the crash scene, said that Ukrainian artillery used the Grad system to “shower” the city with bombs. Torez is within the 40-km safety radius allowed for investigations and agreed by the warring sides as being neutral at this time. The ceasefire had been earlier ordered by President Poroshenko.

It took four days for international experts to gain access to the site. The reason is that even after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a 40-kilometer ceasefire zone around the crash site, Malaysian experts came under heavy shelling from the Ukrainian army while making their way within the ceasefire zone.

Speaking to the press on Thursday, spokesperson for the OSCE, Michael Bociurkiw, said that the self-defense forces stationed around the Boeing crash site are not impeding the investigation in any way.

The Boeing 777-200ER, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 passengers and crew on board, was shot down over Ukraine on July 17. There were no survivors.

Kiev authorities have accused the militia of being behind the catastrophe. However, the militia stressed that it doesn't possess the means to shoot down an aircraft at such an altitude.

Following the crash, the dead bodies were left under 30C heat, as self-defense forces were pressured by the OSCE not to move the bodies until the international experts arrived, the Donetsk People's Republic's Prime Minister Aleksandr Boroday told BBC.

“We waited a day, two, three – but no experts,” Boroday said. “They were all sitting in Kiev.” To keep the dead bodies laying there became “absurd” and “inhumane,” he added.

The Donetsk People's Republic's Prime Minister Aleksandr Boroday (AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

The Ukrainian militia handed over to Malaysian experts the black boxes from the plane on Tuesday. Investigators say they have found no evidence that the black box recorder was tampered with.

Read more: Ukrainian militia hand over MH17 flight recorders to Malaysia

The Dutch Safety Board said it has taken charge of the international investigation. It will coordinate a team of 24 investigators from Ukraine, Malaysia, Russia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It added that four Dutch investigators are currently operating in Ukraine.

The bodies of the first victims from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived back in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

A day earlier, the UN Security Council condemned the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and called for an international probe into the incident in a unanimously adopted resolution.

Read more: ‘Kiev will have to answer many questions’ as UN urges intl MH17 crash probe – Moscow

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