Crash Victims Reach Ukraine-Held City 07/22 06:27
The remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in
territory held by the Ukrainian government on Tuesday on their way to the
Netherlands, after delays and haphazard treatment of the bodies that put
pressure on European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels to impose tougher
economic sanctions on Russia.
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) -- The remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines
crash arrived in territory held by the Ukrainian government on Tuesday on their
way to the Netherlands, after delays and haphazard treatment of the bodies that
put pressure on European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels to impose
tougher economic sanctions on Russia.
The crash site itself, in farmland held by the pro-Russian separatists who
the West accuses of shooting down the plane, remained unsecured five days after
the disaster --- another source of frustration for officials around the world
eager to establish the facts of the case.
After an overnight journey, a refrigerated train carrying the bodies pulled
into a station in Kharkiv, a government-controlled city where Ukrainian
authorities have set up their crash investigation center. Government spokesman
Oleksander Kharchenko said Ukraine "will do our best" to send the bodies to the
Netherlands on Tuesday. Of the 298 people who died aboard the
Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight, 193 were Dutch citizens.
In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers were discussing whether to
impose more sanctions in response to the disaster. Europe and the United States
have imposed targeted economic sanctions against Russia for supporting
Ukraine's five-month insurgency that began after pro-Russian President Viktor
Yanukovych was ousted by protesters in February.
The rebels control a swathe of territory in two eastern provinces, and have
battled Ukrainian troops with heavy weapons including tanks and missile
launchers that the West says came from Russia. Russia denies supporting the
The sanctions so far have focused on individuals instead of entire sectors
of the economy, though the EU was moving already to broaden them before the
downing of the plane. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that the
jet's destruction on Thursday has drastically changed the situation, and that
the Russians cannot expect continued access to European markets and capital if
they continued to fuel a war against another European country.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius blamed "terrorists supplied by
Moscow" for shooting down the airliner, killing all aboard. He said he hoped
the EU will impose beefed-up sanctions on Russia. His call for an arms embargo
was a direct challenge to France, which is building two warships for the
At the crash site near the village of Hrabove, a few rebel fighters
accompanied observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe. The farmland where the wreckage is scattered was otherwise unguarded
and unsecured. Even the red-and-white tape that had sealed off the fields had
been torn away.
In some places, the smell of decay and flies suggested the presence of
remains under the wreckage, and observers said Monday that not all bodies had
About 70 villagers, most of them older women wearing headscarves, gathered
across the road from the site to sing Ukrainian Orthodox hymns at a memorial
service led by several black-robed priests.