MH17 crash: UK to argue for more Russia sanctions

Prime Minister David Cameron is to tell MPs what is being done to gain full access to the site of the Malaysia jet crash, including pressure on Russia.

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The prime minister spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday and has indicated he wants the EU to bring in more sanctions against Moscow.

Ten passengers from the UK were among 298 people killed when flight MH17 was downed in east Ukraine on 17 July.

Pro-Russia separatists, who retain control of the area, have been blamed.

Mr Cameron has also discussed with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott a new UN resolution to guarantee “unfettered access” to the crash site.

His statement in the Commons comes ahead of a vote in the UN Security Council.

And at meeting of EU foreign ministers on Tuesday, the UK is set to push for further sanctions against Russia.

‘Credible evidence’

BBC political correspondent Gary O’Donoghue said Downing Street was frustrated at the lack of appetite among other EU countries for expanding existing sanctions.

Mr Cameron has made it clear he will press for more Russian individuals to be listed for travel bans and asset freezes.

But he is seeking further potential bans on companies and banks that are seen to facilitate the continuing conflict in Ukraine, said our correspondent.

The UK has already taken action on export licences for defence equipment and wants other EU states such as France to do something similar.

Other sectors such as energy could form part of the discussion though Germany, which is more dependent on gas imports from Russia, is thought to be resistant to such a move.[eap_ad_1]

Ukraine and the pro-Russian separatists have accused each other of downing the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Russia has been accused of providing the rebels with an anti-aircraft system that was allegedly used in the attack.

US Secretary of State John Kerry says there is overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of the plane.

But the separatists, who have loaded at least 196 bodies onto refrigerated train trucks near the plane’s crash site, to be taken to an as yet unknown destination, deny claims they are tampering with evidence.

They say the plane’s black boxes have been recovered and will be handed over to the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Six UK air accident investigators have been sent to the region and two Metropolitan Police officers arrived on Sunday to assist with identifying and recovering the bodies of those killed.

The Foreign Office is helping to provide transport, accommodation and translators for grieving families of the 10 Britons who died wishing to travel to Kiev or Amsterdam.

In his 30-minute phone call with Mr Putin, Mr Cameron urged him to intervene so the victims’ bodies could be repatriated, Downing Street said.

“The evidence suggested that pro-Russian separatists were responsible,” a spokesman said Mr Cameron had told the Russian leader.

“If Russia wants to put the blame elsewhere they would need to present compelling and credible evidence,” the spokesman said. (BBC)[eap_ad_4]

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