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Pro-Russian Rebels Restrict Monitors In MH17 Crash Site

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Armed separatists have restricted international fact-finding groups access to data in order to investigate the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, casting shadows over the ability to plausibly probe the incident which killed hundreds of people.

Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe team, told CNN the area looks like a “huge crime scene…  The bodies are still there. They have not been tampered with. We actually spoke to some civilian emergency workers. They said their job was just to mark where the bodies are.”

The crash site located near Torez–remote part of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border,is controlled by rebel militants fighting the Ukrainian government and is supported by the former Soviet Union state.

Earlier reports quoted an unnamed U.S. intelligence official that militants gunned down the plane using a surface-to-air missile system called Buk, which was given to them by the Russian government.

On Friday, President Obama condemned the incident and called it as “an outrage of unspeakable proportions” and extended sympathy to its ally the Netherlands.

While cautious to pin the blame to Russia, its former Cold War adversary, he pointed out that there is a growing evidence that separatists in the region was responsible for the attack.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– President Obama” link=”http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/07/18/obama-ukraine-crisis-malaysian-jetliner/12829067/”]

Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside Ukraine.

[/quote]

The US told the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council that the rebels initially claimed responsibility for the attack through social media but retracted the claim after the aircraft was found to be a civilian instead of a military plane.

“Separatists initially claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane, and claimed responsibility and posted videos that are now being connected to the Malaysian Airlines crash,” U.S. envoy Samantha Power said in a report by the Associated Press. “Separatist leaders also boasted on social media about shooting down a plane, but later deleted these messages.”

However, she did not rule out that Russia may be behind the firing because operating the Buk missile system is so “complex.”

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