(Adds further comment)
DONETSK, Ukraine, July 19 A rebel leader
appealed to Russia on Saturday for help with worsening
conditions at the crash site of a Malaysian airliner, accusing
the Ukrainian government of preventing experts from arriving and
allowing bodies to rot.
Aleksander Borodai, prime minister of the self-styled
Donetsk People's Republic, said rebels had not touched the site
where the plane crashed, killing all 298 people on board, but
were worried by the state of bodies spread over a large area.
"There's a grandmother. A body landed right in her bed. She
says 'please take this body away'. But we cannot tamper with the
site," he told a news conference.
"Bodies of innocent people are lying out in the heat. We
reserve the right, if the delay continues ... to begin the
process of taking away the bodies. We ask the Russian Federation
to help us with this problem and send their experts," he said.
He blamed the authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kiev for
preventing experts from getting to the site, which is in rebel
hands. Earlier on Saturday, Malaysian experts arrived in Kiev to
help Ukrainian specialists at the site.
Workers from Ukraine's Emergencies Ministry have been
working in the fields where the plane crashed, but monitors from
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
have been barred from parts of the site by armed men.
Borodai said the OSCE, a security watchdog, was there to
monitor the work of the experts, so for the time being had
little to do until those specialists arrived.
"Maybe this is because Ukraine or the Ukrainian authorities
are not interested in an objective investigation," he said.
Investigators are keen to establish the whereabouts of the
plane's black box flight recorders, but Borodai, just as several
other officials have done, said he did not know where they were.
"The black boxes have not been found and we are not touching
the site," he said.
(Reporting by Peter Graff; Writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing
by Louise Ireland)