Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Bodies leave Ukraine war zone, truce called at MH17 crash site

A train carrying the remains of 280 people killed in the Malaysian plane disaster was finally allowed to leave a rebel-held region in eastern Ukraine as the militants declared a truce Tuesday around the crash site.


Five days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was allegedly shot out of the sky, pro-Russian separatists conceded to a furious international clamour for the bodies and the plane´s black boxes to be handed over to investigators.


The devices, which record cockpit activity and flight data, were handed to Malaysian officials by the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People´s Republic, Alexander Borodai, in front of scores of journalists.


"We will order a ceasefire in an area of 10 kilometres around" the site of the disaster, which killed all 298 people on board the plane, he said.


Meanwhile, after days of bitter wrangling, the rebels released the bodies of the dead.


Loaded on a train, they will arrive in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv Tuesday before being put on a plane to the Netherlands, where the flight to Kuala Lumpur originated and which suffered the greatest loss, with 193 citizens killed in the crash.


The rebel concessions came after US President Barack Obama insisted that Moscow force the insurgents it is accused of backing to cooperate with an international probe into the disaster.


Moscow, which has drawn ire for failing to rein in the rebels, backed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the downing of the plane and demanding access to the crash site.


A senior Russian defence ministry official insisted that "Russia did not give the rebels Buk missile systems or any other kinds of weapons or military hardware".

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dutch investigators inspect MH17 bodies at east Ukraine station

Dutch investigators on Monday inspected bodies recovered from downed passenger airliner MH17 which had been loaded onto a train under rebel control not far from the crash site.

Each of the train wagons carrying the corpses was opened and examined by two men wearing masks and headlights. The stench from the wagon was overpowering and, contrary to claims that the carriages were refrigerated, there was little sign that the remains in black body bags were being chilled.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Ukraine PM says those behind jet downing should face Hague tribunal

Ukraine´s prime minister said Friday that pro-Russian separatist rebels that Kiev believes shot down a Malaysian airliner with 298 people on board should face an international tribunal The Hague.


"Yesterday´s terrible tragedy has altered our lives. The Russians went too far," Interfax-Ukraine quoted Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as saying.


"This is an international crime for which they should face an international tribunal in The Hague.


Jet crash rekindles MH370 families' grief, suspicion

The latest Malaysia Airlines disaster has rekindled the grief of MH370 relatives who say the new crash bears out their furious criticisms of the nation´s flag carrier and government.


Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, went down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday with 298 passengers and crew, mostly Dutch citizens.


The tragedy has reopened the deep emotional wounds caused by the March 8 disappearance of flight MH370, whose fate remains one of the biggest aviation mysteries ever.


Many of them have repeatedly accused the airline and Malaysian government of withholding information and of suspicious conduct in handling the probe into the disaster.


"My heart is breaking for another 295 souls on board, and another 295 families. Now I cannot stop shaking," said Sarah Bajc, partner of MH370 passenger Philip Wood.


US officials said MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, a possible casualty of a violent rebellion by pro-Russian insurgents.


But Bajc said "it was only a matter of time" that a new tragedy would hit struggling Malaysia Airlines.


Bajc is among a group of vocal MH370 relatives who have criticised the government and airline´s handling of the search for the missing plane and investigation into what might have caused it, alleging information was being withheld.


"When symptoms of a disease are ignored, the disease festers," she said in an email.


"Another (Malaysia Airlines) flight has gone down. Another 777... Far too much coincidence for the two situations to not be linked in some way." "How do we know a similar thing didn´t happen to MH370?" she said.


Flight MH370 vanished March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.


The Boeing 777-400 is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive search has turned up no sign of wreckage so far, leaving families frustrated and anguished.

Global anger mounts over downed Malaysia Airlines jet

Global outrage and shock mounted Friday after the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over strife-torn eastern Ukraine with nearly 300 people on board as questions swirled as to who was behind the tragedy.


Local emergency crews picked through horrific carnage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, placing dozens of sticks with white rags in the ground to mark where bodies lay.


The Boeing 777 came down in cornfields in the separatist-held region on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, with the United States claiming it was shot down in a missile attack.


Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces of committing a "terrorist act" as stunned world leaders urged a full investigation into the disaster, which could further fan the flames of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.


The United States demanded an "unimpeded" international inquiry into the tragedy and rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin´s charge that Ukraine´s crackdown on separatist rebels stoked tensions that led to the crash.


"While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fuelled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, material, and training," the White House said in a statement.


News of the crash sent European, US and Asian stock markets tumbling. Shares in Malaysia Airlines, still afflicted by the trauma and global stigma of flight MH370´s disappearance four months ago, plummeted almost 18 percent on Friday morning.


The father of one MH17 stewardess wept as he expressed the vain hope his daughter could be alive.


"We are just hoping she survived even though we know many are dead... We pray that somehow she is safe and comes home," Salleh Samsudin, 54, said of 31-year-old Nur Shazana Salleh on Malaysian television.


One devastated relative told how her sister Ninik Yuriani, 56 -- of Indonesian descent but a Dutch national -- was on her way to Jakarta to celebrate the Muslim festival Eid.


"My family is now gathered at my sister´s house in Jakarta. We´ve decided to keep this from my mother. She´s so old and weak, I don´t think she could take it," Enny Nuraheni, 54, told.

UNSC calls for ‘full, thorough’ probe into Malaysia plane disaster

The UN Security Council on Friday demanded a full, independent and international probe into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine that killed 298 people on board.


"The members of the Security Council called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability," the council said in a unanimous declaration. 

Ukraine separatist leader blames Kiev for downing plane

Separatist leader Aleksander Borodai blamed the downing of a Malaysian passenger airliner in eastern Ukraine on the country´s government forces.


"Apparently, it´s a passenger airliner indeed, truly shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force," Borodai told Russia´s state-run Rossiya 24 TV broadcaster.


Kiev denied the involvement of Ukraine´s armed forces. (Reuters)


Obama calls leaders of Ukraine, Malaysia about downed plane

US President Barack Obama called the leaders of Ukraine and Malaysia on Thursday to discuss the shooting down of an airliner carrying 298 people over rebel-held eastern Ukraine.


Obama spoke to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as he flew to New York on Air Force One, amid a crisis over the downing of the Boeing 777 plane operated by Malaysia Airlines.


White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters further details of the call would be released later.

Some 100 on board crashed Malaysia flight were AIDS workers: Reports

As many as 100 of those killed on a Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in Ukraine were delegates heading to Australia for a global AIDS conference, reports said Friday.


The Australian broadsheet and the Sydney Morning Herald both said that more than one-third of the nearly 300 who died were AIDS researchers, health workers and activists. The reports could not be confirmed.


Some Asian carriers quit Ukraine airspace months ago

The Malaysian airliner apparently shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine was flying over airspace that a number of other Asian carriers had already abandoned months ago because of security concerns.


South Korea´s two main airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, as well as Australia´s Qantas and Taiwan´s China Airlines said they had all re-routed flights from as early as the beginning of March when Russian troops moved into Crimea.


"We stopped flying over Ukraine because of safety concerns," Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyo-Min said.


Korean Air moved its flight paths 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Ukraine from March 3 "due to the political unrest in the region", an official for the carrier told AFP.A Qantas spokeswoman said its London to Dubai service used to fly over Ukraine, but the route was changed "several months ago", while Taiwan´s China Airlines diverted its flights from April 3.Quizzed as to why Malaysia Airlines had not taken similar precautions, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said international air authorities had deemed the flight path secure.


’Safe´ flight path?’

"The aircraft´s flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. And (the) International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions," he said.


Re-routing would have involved a longer flight-time and therefore higher fuel costs.


Singapore Airlines said in a statement that it had been using Ukrainian airspace but had "re-routed all our flights" to alternative corridors away from the region.


It was not immediately clear when the route change was put into affect.Hong Kong´s Cathay Pacific said it had not been using Ukrainian airspace "for quite some time" and Pakistan International Airlines said it had re-routed "some time ago."


According to the European flight safety body Eurocontrol, the Ukrainian authorities declared the east of the country a no-fly zone shortly after the Malaysian airliner went down with 298 people on board.


European and US airlines re-routed their flights as Kiev said flight MH17 was shot down in a "terrorist" attack and a US official said intelligence analysts "strongly believe" it was downed by a surface-to-air missile.


Eurocontrol said the doomed plane was flying at a level known as "330", or approximately 10,000 metres or 33,000 feet, when it disappeared from radar screens.


The route itself had been closed to level "320" but was cleared for those flying at the Malaysian plane´s altitude.

Netherlands mourns after at least 154 Dutch die in Ukraine MH17 crash

The Dutch prime minister on Thursday ordered that flags fly at half mast at government buildings across the country after the death of at least 154 of his country's citizens in what he said might be the worst air disaster in the Netherlands' history.


The Dutch were among 295 passengers and crew, including three infants, aboard a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed while crossing above the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting forces controlled by the government in the capital Kiev.


Speaking at Schiphol Airport after interrupting his holiday in southern Germany on news of the crash, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was a "black day" for the Netherlands.


"The whole of the Netherlands is in mourning," he said. "This beautiful summer day has ended in the blackest possible way."


Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was operating as a code-share flight with the Dutch flagship carrier KLM, was also carrying at least 27 Australians, 23 Malaysians, 11 Indonesians, six Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one Canadian.


The 15 flight crew - two captains, two flight officers and 11 cabin crew — were all Malaysian citizens. The nationalities of a further 47 were as yet unknown.


Malaysia Airlines' Europe vice president Huib Gorter told reporters that relatives would be provided with support if they requested it and could be flown from Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to Kiev if they so wished.


"You cannot imagine what's happening to these people right now," he said. "They are our main concern."