Armed Ukraine Rebels Seize Control Of Bodies At MH17 Crash Site

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Though rebels in eastern Ukraine were warned not to tamper with the evidence at the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash site, U.S. officials report the rebels have seized control of the bodies recovered from the downed plane.

The Associated Press reports that the question of who is controlling the evidence at the site is becoming a major international dust-up. Monitors say armed rebels have limited their access to the site, and Ukrainian officials claim the rebels seized the bodies by force.


The Ukraine government and pro-Russian separatist rebels both accuse each other of firing the surface-to-air missile that downed MH17, killing all 298 people onboard. On Sunday the rebels loaded 192 bodies and eight body parts onto railway cars for storage.

There was no word on the remaining bodies, but some experts say they may have been incinerated in the explosion and crash.

Donetsk rebel leader Alexander Borodai said the bodies recovered from the crash site would remain in refrigerated train cars in the rebel-held town of Torez, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the crash site, until the arrival of an international aviation delegation.

"The bodies will go nowhere until experts arrive," Borodai said, speaking in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. He also said the plane's black boxes have been recovered and will be handed over to the International Civil Aviation Organization.


Leaders in Europe demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ensure the separatists give investigators full access to the crash site to determine exactly what happened.

And in today's Sunday Times, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that if Ukrainian separatists were proven to be behind the attack, it would be Russia's fault for destabilizing the country.

"If this is the case then we must be clear what it means: this is a direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them," he wrote in the newspaper.