Ukraine rescue teams recovered 186 bodies at the scene of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash and accusing Russia of removing 38 corpses in an attempt to sabotage the investigation.
Emergency workers employed by the Ukrainian government were allowed access to the 8-square-mile crash site Saturday. The remains of 38 people who are on the passenger manifest could not be found.
At the same time, authorities allege that separatists, who have been accused of shooting down the plane with a surface-to-air missile, looted the remains of victims.
Staff from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said they were denied full access to the site.
“We encountered armed personnel who acted in a very impolite and unprofessional manner. Some of them even looked slightly intoxicated,” an OSCE spokesman told the Daily Mail.
OSCE officials say the site is insecure, there is a lack of organization, and an array of “inhospitable” armed rebels.
“It basically looks like the biggest crime scene in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with heavy firepower who are quite inhospitable,” OSCE expert Michael Bociurkiw told CNN Friday. “And there didn't seem to be anyone really in control, for example. One of our top priorities was to find out what happened to the black boxes. No one was there to answer those questions.”
Ukraine officials said Thursday that the black boxes were headed to Moscow.
Footage captured by Sky News showed a rebel commander telling a hoard of journalists: “Whoever disobeys my order will be dealt with accordingly.”
“We have to be very careful with our movements because of all the security,” Bociurkiw said. “We are unarmed civilians, so we are not in a position to argue with people with heavy arms.”
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai says tampering with the remains is a “betrayal” of MH17 victims.
“Interfering with the scene of the crash would undermine the investigation itself. Any action that prevents us from learning the truth about what happened to MH17 cannot be tolerated,” Liow Tiong Lai said. “Such interference would be a betrayal of the lives that were lost.”
Image screenshot: Sky News