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 Airlines disaster after international observers said armed rebels were restricting their access to the crash site.

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

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

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

The British Government has joined the United States 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, territory controlled by rebels seeking closer ties to Moscow.

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

US ambassador Samantha Power said Washington could not rule out the possibility that offered help to separatists to launch 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 of terrorism” and released what it claimed was a recording of an intercepted phone call between two Russian military intelligence officers, discussing the downing of the plane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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