Sunday, July 20, 2014

Global Impact: Survivors of Ill-Fated Flight MH17 Outraged by Armed Robbery of Passengers' Bodies

According to The Associated Press, pro-Russian separatist rebels have spirited away all 196 bodies that workers recovered from the the ill-fated MH Flight 17 that was shot down by a purported SA-11 missile.

COMMENT: What Russian President Vladimir Putin did, in stealing the 196 remains of the passengers who had the misfortune of being aboard the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, goes so far beyond an outrage that it has tragically become indescribable!

AP journalists observed pro-Russia rebels putting bagged bodies onto trucks at the crash site Saturday in rebel-held eastern Ukraine and driving them away. 

By Sunday morning, AP journalists saw no bodies and no armed rebels at the crash site.

Ukraine and the separatists accuse each other of firing a surface-to-air missile Thursday (July 17) at Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur some 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) above the battlefields of eastern Ukraine. 

All those aboard the flight--283 passengers and 15 crew--are presumed killed.

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Nataliya Bystro said recovery workers in the rebel-held territory had been laboring under duress and were forced to give the bodies to heavily-armed gunmen.

News reports of how the bodies had been decaying for days in the summer sun had ignited outrage worldwide, especially from the Netherlands, home to over half the victims.

An AP journalist saw a Buk missile launcher in rebel-held territory close to the crash site Thursday just hours before the plane was brought down.

In a blistering article for THE SUNDAY TIMES, British Prime Minister David Cameron called the attack a "direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them...We must turn this moment of outrage into a moment of action," he wrote.

In a coded attack on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders who have blocked efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia's actions in the Ukraine, Cameron said Europe must now "respond robustly."

The US State Department described the rebels' refusal to give monitors a full access to the site "an affront to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity the victims deserve."

The Dutch, understandably, led the way in expressing outrage over how the victims' bodies were being treated.

"The news we got today of the bodies being dragged around, of the site not being treated properly, has really created a shock in the Netherlands," Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans told the Ukrainian president in Kiev on Saturday. "People are angry, are furious at what they hear."