Ukraine: Rebels still manipulating crash site

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Ukraine: Rebels still manipulating crash site
Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin answers questions during an interview at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014. Klimkin says pro-Russian separatists are continuing to try to manipulate the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner that the United States and others have accused the rebels of shooting down.(AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin answers questions during an interview at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014. Klimkin says pro-Russian separatists are continuing to try to manipulate the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner that the United States and others have accused the rebels of shooting down.(AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during his briefing in Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 28, 2014. Lavrov said he is expecting OSCE observers to arrive at the Russian-Ukrainian border "in the coming days." He said they would see that accusations rebels are traveling freely into Ukraine from Russia are false. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during his briefing in Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 28, 2014. Lavrov said he is expecting OSCE observers to arrive at the Russian-Ukrainian border "in the coming days." He said they would see that accusations rebels are traveling freely into Ukraine from Russia are false. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
In this photo taken early Saturday, July 26, 2014, Russian and Ukraine paramedics carry an injured Ukrainian serviceman on board a Ukrainian military plane to be transported to Ukraine at Rostov-on-Don's airport, in Russia. Several Ukrainian servicemen had to cross the border into Russia after they were injured in clashes with pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Pivovarov)
Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Sunday, July 27, 2014. A team of international police officers that had been due to visit the site of the Malaysian plane disaster in eastern Ukraine cancelled the trip Sunday after receiving reports of fighting in the area. Alexander Hug, the deputy head of a monitoring team from the OSCE in Europe, said it would be too dangerous for the unarmed mission to travel to the site from its current location in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Dutch policemen walk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Sunday, July 27, 2014. A team of international police officers that had been due to visit the site of the Malaysian plane disaster in eastern Ukraine cancelled the trip Sunday after receiving reports of fighting in the area. Alexander Hug, the deputy head of a monitoring team from the OSCE in Europe, said it would be too dangerous for the unarmed mission to travel to the site from its current location in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Dutch policemen walk to their cars in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Sunday, July 27, 2014. A team of international police officers that had been due to visit the site of the Malaysian plane disaster in eastern Ukraine cancelled the trip Sunday after receiving reports of fighting in the area. Alexander Hug, the deputy head of a monitoring team from the OSCE in Europe, said it would be too dangerous for the unarmed mission to travel to the site from its current location in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Ukrainian volunteers of Donbas Battalion examine weapons captured from rebels in the city of Lisichansk, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine Saturday, July 26, 2014. Volunteers from the Donbas Battalion, a volunteer militia for a united Ukraine, told The Associated Press their units, along with the Ukrainian army, regained control of Lisichansk on Friday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks at a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday July 24, 2014. Rutte says he is sending 40 unarmed military police to eastern Ukraine as part of a ramped-up effort to find the last victims of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still at the crash site. Rutte told The Associated Press he is sending the police not as security for the site in rebel-held territory but as “extra hands and eyes to look for remaining remains and personal belongings” of victims. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)
Graffiti under a railway bridge commemorates the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he is sending 40 unarmed military police to eastern Ukraine as part of a ramped-up effort to find the last victims of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still at the crash site. Rutte told The Associated Press he is sending the police not as security for the site in rebel-held territory but as “extra hands and eyes to look for remaining remains and personal belongings” of victims. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)
People look at pictures of the victims of the Malaysian Airlines crash in a central square in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Ukrainians tape pictures of victims of the MH17 air crash on a wall before a memorial concert in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Two military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster departed for the Netherlands on July 24, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash scene which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Malaysian forensic experts attend a memorial concert for the victims of the MH17 air crash victims in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Two military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster departed for the Netherlands on July 24, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash scene which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Malaysian forensic experts attend a memorial concert for the victims of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 air crash, in a central square in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Pro-Russian rebels, right, followed by members of the OSCE mission, walk by plane wreckage as they arrive for a media briefing at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. A team of Malaysian investigators visited the site along with members of the OSCE mission for the first time since last week's crash. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A pro-Russian fighter stands guard next to bodies near a destroyed Ukrainian tank in the northern outskirts of the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The soldiers were reportedly killed in fighting between rebels and government forces Monday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Pro-Russian rebels ride on a tank flying Russia's flag, on a road east of Donetsk, Monday, July 21, 2014. Another 21 bodies have been found in the sprawling fields of east Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed last week, killing all 298 people aboard. International indignation over the incident has grown as investigators still only have limited access to the crash site and it remains unclear when and where the victims' bodies will be transported. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin answers questions during an interview at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014. Klimkin says pro-Russian separatists are continuing to try to manipulate the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner that the United States and others have accused the rebels of shooting down.(AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Ukrainian volunteers of Donbas Battalion examine weapons captured from rebels in the city of Lisichansk, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine Saturday, July 26, 2014. Volunteers from the Donbas Battalion, a volunteer militia for a united Ukraine, told The Associated Press their units, along with the Ukrainian army, regained control of Lisichansk on Friday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Igor Strelkov, the top military commander of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic', delivers a press conference on July 28, 2014 in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's army on July 28 seized control of part of the vast site where Malaysian airliner MH17 crashed, insurgents said, as the UN announced the downing of the plane could constitute a war crime. After explosions and fighting blocked a new attempt by Dutch and Australian police to access the east Ukraine crash site, Kiev confirmed that its forces were engaged in fierce clashes with rebels nearby. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian militants block the way behind Dutch and Australian forensic teams on their way to the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 28, 2014 in Donetsk. Dutch and Australian forensic investigators turned back on their way to the MH17 crash site on July 28, after 'explosions' in the area, a government spokeswoman in The Hague said. The Ukrainian military earlier said its forces were battling pro-Russian rebels for control of several eastern Ukrainian towns around the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

By MATTHEW LEE

WASHINGTON (AP) - Ukraine's foreign minister said Monday that pro-Russian separatists are continuing to try to manipulate the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner that the United States and others have accused the rebels of shooting down.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said new fighting that prevented an international police team from getting to the site earlier Monday was the fault the separatists who are trying to cover up their involvement. He said a ceasefire in the area of the crash site remains a priority for authorities in Kiev.

"For us it was an extremely important prerequisite, how to ensure the access to the crash site and how to carry out effective and transparent investigation," he said. "But of course, it's about the separatist activities from yesterday but also today. There is no heavy fighting as I understand but they have been trying to wipe out any sort of traces."

Earlier fighting raged around the debris field, once again preventing an international police team charged with securing the site from getting there. Government troops have stepped up their push to win back territory from the separatists in fighting that the United Nations said Monday has killed more than 1,100 people in four months. The delegation of Australian and Dutch police and forensic experts were stopped in Shakhtarsk, a town around 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the fields where the Boeing 777 was brought down.

Klimkin, who is in Washington for meetings with senior officials from the Obama administration and international financial organizations, said "the critical point is firstly to ensure bilateral cease fire in the 40-kilometer radius zone around the crash site."

"Secondly, it's critical to ensure that the civil police component from our partners in France, like Dutch, like Australians is there and the third point is it's also critical that we are able to ensure the safety and security around site, not just in the 40 kilometer zone," he said.

However, he stressed that the government's job was made harder because it had to deal with a constant inflow from Russia of fighters, money and weapons that are aimed at destabilizing Ukraine because of its Western leanings.

"We are punished for our European choice," he said, adding that the conflict would not be happening at all without Russian support.

"It's all going on and dragging on because of the influence of outside, because of the inflow of mercenaries, money, heavy weaponry, crossing the border," Klimkin said. "It's because mainly the so-called terrorists are actually Russian citizens, a number of them with special links to the Russian security services."

Russia has denied that it is supplying the rebels with heavy weaponry and has sought to refute Ukrainian and U.S. allegations that its forces have been shelling Ukraine from Russian territory. On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry bluntly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a phone call that he did not believe Moscow's denials, according to a State Department readout of the conversation.

Ukraine has been accused of targeting civilians in what it says is a counter-terrorism operation in separatist areas, but Klimkin said the government is making every effort to mitigate collateral damage. And, he blamed the separatists for hiding and placing weaponry in civilian areas.

"They normally place heavy weaponry, like tanks, like rocket-propelled grenades in the center of living blocks in order to ... shell not just our troops but also civilian targets from there," he said.

Klimkin said he would be seeking additional support from Washington during his visit, including unspecified military equipment, but added that U.S. soldiers on the ground are not needed.

More AOL Content:
Largest ever Ebola outbreak claims doctor
Trial rekindles questions about Okla. City attack

Read Full Story

People are Reading