This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
crash site, officials and observers say
A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 people and
traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, falls in a Ukrainian feld.
July 19, 2014Ukrainian rescue orkers carry t!e "ody of a victim t!roug! a !eat feld at
t!e site of t!e cras! of a Malaysia Airlines plane in #ra"ove, in re"el$!eld east Ukraine.
Ukrainian o%cials say t!e plane as targeted "y separatist fg!ters using a surface$to$air
missile, possi"ly it! direct &ussian aid. 'omini(ue )aget*A)+*#etty ,mages
-y Mic!ael -irn"aum, Karen 'e.oung and Mic!ael -irn"aum and Karen 'e.oung
/uly 20 at 8128 AM
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian rebels on Sunday cleared away bodies of victims from
the shoot-down of a Malaysian et liner, movin! at least some of them to
refri!erated railway cars at a nearby train station to "revent them from
decom"osin! in the heat, Ukrainian officials and international observers said#
$he overni!ht removal of bodies came a day after a U#S# official said that the United
States believes that %ussia su""lied so"histicated antiaircraft missile launchers to
the rebels, who have been "reventin! international investi!ators from havin!
unfettered access to the vast crash scene#
Ukrainian officials accused the armed rebels of destroyin! evidence at the crash
scene, and on Saturday ni!ht the State &e"artment called rebel interference with
international investi!ators 'unacce"table and an affront to all those who lost loved
)t least some of the bodies moved Sunday were taken to Soviet-era refri!erated
train cars in the nearby villa!e of $ore*, a s"okesman from the +r!ani*ation for
Security and ,oo"eration in Euro"e -+S,E. said Sunday#
“/e were able to observe three cars# Indeed they were refri!erated# )ll of the ba!s
we saw were ta!!ed# /e were told there were 012 bodies there,( said +S,E
s"okesman Michael 3ociurkiw# 'If indeed these are actually bodies from the crash
scene, I !uess this is a "ositive develo"ment that they4ve all been "ut in one
location,( he added#
$em"eratures over the "ast several days in eastern Ukraine have ran!ed in the mid-
56s, and the bodies were ra"idly decom"osin! in the fields and villa!es where they
fell# 3ociurkiw said local officials and rebel re"resentatives e7"ected to leave the
railway cars in "lace until international e7"erts could ins"ect them and "rovide
“$he thinkin! is that the cars should be taken to Ukrainian-controlled territory and
they should be "rocessed there,( he said#
3ociurkiw said the refri!erator cars were bein! "owered by an electric link to the
locomotive, which was runnin! when the monitors visited the site# $he area
a""eared li!htly !uarded, he said, but there was a 89-hour "resence of railway
officials at the train station and heavy locks had been "laced on the doors to the
) s"okesman for rebels in the &onetsk area said Sunday that the se"aratists had
moved the bodies because they were decom"osin! but were ready to hand them
over to Ukraine4s central authorities# ':inally we4ve "laced them in a train, and now
we are waitin! for the e7"erts to come,( s"okesman Ser!ey Kavtarad*e said# '/e4re
e7"ectin! Kiev to tell us where to take these bodies#(
$he move of the bodies came amid continued fin!er-"ointin! over res"onsibility for
the downin! of the Malaysian et liner# ) U#S# official said Saturday that
/ashin!ton believes that Moscow su""lied missile launchers to se"aratists in
eastern Ukraine and that attem"ts were made to move them back across the
%ussian border after the $hursday shoot-down of the et liner#
“/e do believe they were tryin! to move back into %ussia at least three 3uk ;missile
launch< systems,( the official said# U#S# intelli!ence was 'startin! to !et indications #
# # a little more than a week a!o( that the %ussian launchers had been moved into
Ukraine, said the official#
$he official4s comments, made on the condition of anonymity to s"eak about
intelli!ence matters, came as a to" Ukrainian counterintelli!ence official said his
service has conclusive "roof that %ussia su""lied the missile that shot down
Malaysia )irlines :li!ht 0= over territory controlled by the se"aratists#
“$errorists are usin! their own vehicles, the vehicles of their choice,( said )ndriy
>ysenko, a s"okesman for the Ukrainian ?ational Security and &efense ,ouncil#
)viation investi!ators from around the world were conver!in! on Kiev on Saturday
ho"in! to be!in their work, but it remained unclear when they would !ain full
access to the crash site, dee" in rebel-held territory# Ukrainian officials warned that
the chance for an im"artial in@uiry was @uickly sli""in! away as bodies were moved
and at least some "lane remnants were loaded onto trucks#
International observers were allowed only brief access to the site Saturday and were
restricted in their movements by the heavily armed rebels, some of whom appeared
drunk, witnesses said.
“$heir key task is to destroy "ossible evidence,( said )ndriy Aarubiy, head of
Ukraine4s ?ational Security and &efense ,ouncil# 'It will be hard to conduct a full
investi!ation with some of the obects bein! taken away, but we will do our best#(
There were conflicting reports about whether all of the bodies had been relocated to the
railcars or whether some remained in a Donetsk morgue where they had apparently been
taken on Saturday.
“$errorists have not told anybody where the bodies are bein! taken,( >ysenko said
a briefin! in Kiev# Be said C56 local emer!ency workers were at the site of the
crash, alon! with 86 emer!ency vehicles#
But “their rescue work is complicated because gunmen and terrorists are there, and they
dont allow the workers to work,! he said.
"kraine and #estern officials have said that $ussia is providing support and e%uipment
to the rebels.
&ysenko said Sunday that $ussia was sending “heavy e%uipment and other types of
weapons to the territory of "kraine,! even after 'light () was shot down. *e said
"krainian intelligence had indications that four tanks, three armed vehicles, three +rad
rocket launchers and other e%uipment had come over the border in the &uhansk region.
It was not possible to confirm the claim.
The ,remlin has denied that it has sent weapons to the rebels, and it has continued to
take a strong line against the #est even after the crash, issuing sanctions Saturday
against (- .mericans in retaliation for ".S. sanctions announced the day before the
/arlier 0italy 1ayda, counterintelligence chief of "kraines security service, offered
photographs and said "kraine has evidence of the movement of three Buk 23(
antiaircraft missile systems from rebel3held territory into $ussian territory early 'riday,
less than (4 hours after the plane was downed. "krainian officials have said that a
missile from a Buk 23( launcher was used to shoot down the aircraft.
Two of the antiaircraft systems were spotted entering $ussia from "kraine at 4 a.m.
'riday, he said. 5ne had its full complement of four missiles, but the other was missing
a missile, he said. Two hours later, he said, a convoy of three vehicles that included one
of the launchers and a control truck crossed into $ussia.
The ".S. official said they could not confirm the e6act time cited by the "krainians.
1ayda said that "krainian military services had not left any operational Buk 23(
launchers in territory where the rebels could have sei7ed them when they took over
bases and territory in eastern "kraine this year. *e suggested they must have come from
$ussia and said "kraine has evidence that at least one launcher system was on its
The rebels have denied possessing the launchers, although social media files linked to a
rebel leader, Igor +irkin, appeared to boast of having the systems. The claims were
deleted this week after the plane was shot down.
. top rebel leader said Saturday that his side was not tampering with the evidence, even
as rebels on the scene appeared to be loading at least some parts of the plane onto trucks.
The leader said he was eager for international investigators to come as soon as possible.
“,urrently in this area there are no active hostilities,( )le7ander 3orodai told
re"orters in &onetsk# '3ut the situation may deteriorate at any time#(
'ighting raged elsewhere in the region Saturday, especially in &uhansk near the $ussian
border, where (8 civilians were killed, according to the city councils #eb site.
The attack on the plane and the subse%uent treatment of the crime scene appear to be
hardening /uropean attitudes against $ussia.
2ost of the 49: victims were Dutch citi7ens, and the chaos Saturday drew a harsh
condemnation from Dutch ;rime 2inister 2ark $utte, who said he had told $ussian
;resident 0ladmir ;utin “that the opportunity is fading to %uickly show the world that he
is serious about wanting to help.! The 1etherlands had previously been cautious about
critici7ing $ussia, a ma<or trading partner.
$utte also lashed out at the rebels, saying he was “shocked by the images of completely
disrespectful behavior! at the crash site. “This is outright disgusting,! he said.
+erman =hancellor .ngela 2erkel spoke to ;utin on Saturday, asking him to “use his
influence on the separatists! to arrange a cease3fire to allow investigators to pursue their
work, a step the ,remlin said it supported.
&iow Tiong &ai, 2alaysias minister of transportation, said his government is “deeply
concerned the crash site not been properly secured and the integrity of the site has been
compromised.! Blocking access to the site “cannot be tolerated,! he said.
$ussia and the rebels have denied any involvement in the attack on the Boeing ))),
which killed (94 Dutch citi7ens, >> 2alaysians, 4) .ustralians, (4 Indonesians, (?
Britons, four +ermans, four Belgians, three 'ilipinos, one =anadian and one person
from 1ew @ealand. 5ne passenger held dual Dutch3".S. =iti7enship.
In an op3ed column in the Sunday Times, British ;rime 2inister David =ameron saidA
“The growing weight of evidence points to a clear conclusionA that flight 2*() was
blown out of the sky by a surface3to3air missile fired from a rebel3held area. If this is the
case then we must be clear what it meansA this is a direct result of $ussia destabilising a
sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training
and arming them.!
=ameron then called on /uropes leaders to take action, saying that “for too long there
has been a reluctance on the part of too many /uropean countries to face up to the
implications of what is happening in eastern "kraine.!
DeBoung reported from #ashington. 'erry Biedermann in .msterdamC .nnie +owen in
,uala &umpur, 2alaysiaC ,aroun Demir<ian in 2oscowC and Steven 2ufson in
#ashington contributed to this report.
Mic!ael -irn"aum is 3!e +ost4s Mosco "ureau c!ief. 5e previously served as
t!e -erlin correspondent and an education reporter.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.