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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 
insurgency.

   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 
Russian navy.

   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 
been recovered.

   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.


(KA)


 
 
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