Sat, Jul 19, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Rescuers search wreck of plane crash

PROBE:Kiev called for an international investigation to determine who attacked the plane. Separatist rebels issued conflicting reports about the plane’s black box

AP, ROZSYPNE, Ukraine

There was no way to independently verify the video.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed Kiev’s accusations that Moscow could be behind the attack.

“Regarding those claims from Kiev that we allegedly did it ourselves: I have not heard a truthful statement from Kiev for months,” he told the Rossiya 24 television channel.

The crash site was spread out over fields between two villages in eastern Ukraine — Rozsypne and Hrabove — and fighting apparently still continued nearby. In the distance, the thud of Grad missile launchers being fired could be heard yesterday morning.

In the sunflower fields around Rozsypne, 40km from the Russian border, lines of men disappeared into the thick, tall growth that was over their heads. One fainted after finding a body. Another body was covered in a coat.

In Hrabove, several kilometers away, huge numbers of simple sticks, some made from tree branches, were affixed with red or white rags to mark spots where body parts were found.

Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Andriy Sybiga said the bodies would be taken to Kharkiv, a government-controlled city 270km to the north, for identification.

Among the debris were watches and smashed mobile phones, charred boarding passes and passports. An “I (heart) Amsterdam” T-shirt and a guidebook to Bali hinted at holiday plans.

Large chunks of the Boeing 777 that bore the airline’s red, white and blue markings lay strewn over one field. The cockpit and one turbine lay a kilometer apart, and the tail landed 10km away. One rebel militiaman in Rozsypne told The Associated Press that the plane’s fuselage showed signs of being struck by a projectile.

The area has seen heavy fighting between government troops and pro-Russia separatists, and rebels had bragged about shooting down two Ukrainian military jets in the region on Wednesday.

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said the plane was flying at about 10,000m when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000m.

Malaysia’s prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk described the attack as an “international crime” whose perpetrators would have to be punished in an international tribunal.

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