Ukraine: Concerns About Airliner Investigation, As UK joins US to blame pro-Russian rebels




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Concerns have been raised about the investigation into the Malaysia disaster after international observers said armed rebels were restricting their access to the crash site.

Europe monitors said they had gained partial access to the site in eastern Ukraine but were stopped from going further “for their own” safety.

Six air accident investigators from Britain and a Malaysian disaster team are due in the capital Kiev later.

Some 298 people, including 10 Britons, nearly 200 Dutch passengers and 80 children, were killed when flight MH17 was brought down near Grabovo, Donetsk.

The British Government has joined the United States in blaming pro-Russian separatists for the catastrophe.

Downing Street said it appeared “increasingly likely” a surface-to-air missile had been fired from near Torez, in territory controlled by rebels seeking closer ties to Moscow.

The came as the United Nations approved a statement calling for a “full, thorough and international investigation” into the crash.

US Samantha Power said Washington could not rule the possibility that Russia offered help to separatists to the missile, believed to be an SA-11.

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The Boeing 777-200 was flying on an established route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

It came down close to where Ukrainian forces have been battling separatists, with both sides blaming each other for the disaster.

Ukraine condemned the “act terrorism” and released what it claimed was a recording an intercepted phone call between two Russian intelligence officers, discussing the downing the plane.

In an unverified video, apparently taken moments after the plane was hit, an alleged pro-Russian rebel boasts: “Wow, that was a blast.

However, Russia pointed the finger at its neighbour, saying it picked up radar activity from a Ukrainian Buk missile system south Donetsk when the aircraft came down.

Among the British were Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who were travelling to New Zealand to watch the football team’s pre- tour.

Around a hundred of those killed were delegates on their way to an international conference on Aids in Melbourne, , including world-renowned researcher Joep Lange.

Malaysian says the ’ details be formally confirmed once next of kin have been notified.

* The British Foreign Office has up a helpline for anyone concerned.  Text MH17 to +447860010026, or call 020 7008 1500. Malaysia ’s emergency line is 00 6 037 884 1234.

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