The Malaysia Airlines MH17 black boxes recovered by pro-Russia separatists will be given to investigators, one of the group's leaders said Sunday.
Alexander Borodai, the prime minister of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk, said the group will give MH17's black boxes to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Associated Press reported.
Access to the MH17 crash site remains a contentious issue as pro-Russia separatists hinder access to the area despite international pleas for cooperation. The AP said 196 bodies recovered from the site by investigators were forcibly taken by armed members of the pro-Russia group and placed in refrigerated train cars.
Continue Reading Below
— СММ ОБСЄ в Україні (@OSCE_SMM) July 20, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down, killing the 298 passengers and crew members, Thursday in eastern Ukraine near the village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region controlled by separatists. Ukraine and the separatists have denied shooting down the plane, with the latter saying they do not have the capability to hit a plane traveling at 33,000 feet, the altitude of the ill-fated Boeing 777-200.
A U.S. official told the Washington Post Russia supplied Buk missile launch systems to separatists and Vitaly Nayda, the head of counterintelligence for Ukraine’s state security service, said Ukraine had photographs of the missile launch systems crossing the Russian border.
A statement released by the U.S. embassy in Kiev said Flight MH17 "was likely downed by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine,” adding, “Pro-Russian separatist fighters have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems and have downed more than a dozen aircraft in the past few months, including two large transport aircraft.”
The U.S. embassy said Russia sent military equipment to the separatists last week and it detected a surface-to-air missile launch during the time contact with MH17 was lost.
Ukraine said Saturday separatists were destroying evidence while there were other reports of possible looting of the MH17 crash site. The AP said on-site reporters did not see armed separatists at the crash site Sunday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the Malaysia Airlines attack in a Sunday Times op-ed, saying, there is not only sympathy but anger.
"Anger that this could happen; anger that a conflict that could have been stopped by Moscow has been fomented by Moscow; anger that some in the West, instead of finding the resolve to deal with this issue, have simply hoped it would go away,” Cameron said.
Cameron urged complete access to the MH17 crash site and for Russia to stop supporting the separatists.
“Russia can use this moment to find a path out of this festering, dangerous crisis. I hope it will do so. But if that does not happen then we must respond robustly,” Cameron said.