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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Dutch PM says Putin 'must take responsibility' for crash site access

Published on Jul 20, 2014 12:32 AM
 
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gives a press conference at the Ministry of Safety and Justice in The Hague, on July 18, 2014, a day after an aircraft of Malaysia Airlines crashed in eastern Ukraine. Mr Rutte said on July 19, 2014, that Vladimir Putin must act to allow access to the Ukranian rebel-held crash site of flight MH17 so bodies can be removed, after a "very intense" conversation with the Russian President. -- PHOTO: AFP

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Vladimir Putin must act to allow access to the Ukranian rebel-held crash site of flight MH17 so bodies can be removed, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday after a "very intense" conversation with the Russian president.

"He (Putin) must now take responsibility vis-a-vis the rebels," Rutte told journalists in The Hague after pro-Russian separatists hindered access to the crash site where 298 died in Thursday's plane crash, 192 of them Dutch.

"The Netherlands and the world will see that he does what needs to be done," Rutte said.

"Given today's developments and the images from this morning, I sent a message to the president to once more exert his influence on the rebels," Rutte added.

"Everyone saw how the plane wreckage, the passengers and the personal belongings are still spread around the site.

"He (Putin) promised me his cooperation yesterday.

"I told him that he must show the world that he wants to help."

Rutte said he was "shocked" by news images of "shameless" rebels handling passenger possessions and walking around the crash site.

Rutte said that he had spoken to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and that they also said Putin must act.

"Unimpeded access and quick recuperation of the bodies is the number one priority," Rutte said.

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