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MH17: Russia has 'one last chance'

Last updated 07:50 20/07/2014
MH17 crash
Reuters Zoom
A man blocks access to the scene of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as emergency personnel remove the bodies of passengers.
M17 victims
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Robert Ayley with a rottweiler during his trip to Europe. Robert was one of the victims of the MH17 crash.
A map showing where MH17 went down. To enlarge the graphic click here.
MArk Rutte
ANGER: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he has had a very "intense" phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has one last chance to show he is serious about helping rescuers recover the bodies of the victims of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the Dutch prime minister says.

''He has one last chance to show he means to help,'' said Mark Rutte minutes after what he described as a ''very intense'' conversation with the Russian leader.

He added that the leaders of Germany, Britain and Australia shared his view.

''I was shocked at the pictures of utterly disrespectful behaviour at this tragic spot,'' he said, referring to allegations that bodies of the passengers, including 193 of his countrymen, were being dragged about and allowed to rot at the scene.

Rutte told reporters that he told Putin he must use his influence over separatist rebels in Ukraine to ensure they did not hinder efforts to investigate the downing of MH17. The plane crashed early on Friday, killing all 298 passengers and crew, most of them Dutch citizens.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the Netherlands was "angry, furious" by news that bodies were being dragged around the site.

International monitors were moving gingerly through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses of the victims, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation of the disaster can be conducted.

At a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Timmermans said: "We are already shocked by the news we got today of bodies being dragged around, of the site not being treated properly ... People are angry, furious."

He told Poroshenko the Netherlands wanted to know who was responsible for shooting down the airliner.

"Once we have the proof, we will not stop before the people are brought to justice. Not just the people who pulled the trigger but also those who made it possible. I think the international community needs to step up its efforts in this respect."

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed that both countries will use their influence on the two sides of the Ukraine conflict to end hostilities.

The parties also agreed that all evidence from the downed Malaysian airplane, including flight recorders, should be made available for international investigation and that experts should be given access to work on the site.

"(They) agreed on the main - it is necessary to ensure an absolutely unbiased, independent and open international investigation of the Malaysian airliner crash in eastern Ukraine on July 17," the ministry said of the telephone call between Kerry and Lavrov.

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should play a leading role in the investigation, it said.

Kerry and Lavrov said that all sides should continue to work towards the goals outlined on April 17 in Geneva aimed at ending hostilities and launching a transparent settlement process involving all Ukrainian regions.

"Lavrov and Kerry have agreed to use the influence of Russia and the United States on the opposing Ukrainian sides in order to encourage them to move in that direction," the ministry said.

"It was stressed that the conflict in Ukraine has no military solution and can only be resolved peacefully through the elaboration of a national consensus," it said.

- AP, Reuters

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