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Asia-Pacific

Hollande, Cameron, Merkel demand Putin obtains access to Malaysia Airlines crash site

media Pro-Russian separatists with debris from the Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in east Ukraine Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev

French President François Hollande have threatened action against Russia unless Vladimir Putin obtains free access to the site of the MH-17 crash in a joint statement British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Amid accusations that Russian separatists could be removing evidence from the scene, the three European leaders “agreed to demand that Mr Putin obtain from the Ukrainian separatists that rescue services and investigators have total and free access” to the site of the disaster.

"If Russia does not immediately take the necessary measures, consequences will be drawn by the European Union (EU) at the Foreign Affairs Council which takes place on Tuesday," a statement on the French presidential website said.

Britain is to try to persuade its EU allies to slap new sanctions on Russia because of its involvement with the separatists, who are accused of shooting down the plane using a ground-to-air missile.

Putin has called on the rebels to cooperate with observers and denied any Russian involvement in the affair.

The pro-Russian separatists who control the area had removed all the bodies from the scene on Sunday.

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki on Saturday said that bodies had been removed, debris taken away, and potential evidence tampered with.
 

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