Obama to Putin: Stop Rebels from Impeding Malaysia Airlines Investigation

By CBS News

Published 07/21 2014 11:13AM

Updated 07/21 2014 11:17AM

WASHINGTON -- (CBS)  There is growing international outrage over how Russian-backed separatists are treating the remains and crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down over Eastern Ukraine.  President Obama addressed the issue Monday morning.

President Obama walked out onto the South Lawn to talk about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Eastern Ukraine.

"Russia has extraordinary influence over these rebels, nobody denies that," he said.  "Russia has urged them on, Russia has trained them.  We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons."

The Obama Administration has laid out evidence showing those rebels used a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile to down the Boeing 777.

This morning, President Vladimir Putin denied his country had anything to do with the crash… blaming, instead, the Ukrainian government.

The White House is joining other nations - demanding international observers have safe access to plane's wreckage.

There is concern evidence at the site has already been significantly compromised. Pro-Russian rebels have been rifling through the wreckage - and have removed the plane's black boxes from the scene.

"All of which begs the question, what exactly are they trying to hide?" Obama said.

They also control the refrigerated train cars in a nearby town - where they are putting the recovered bodies. Dutch forensics experts got their first look today.
But there's no word yet on when the train will be allowed to leave.. and where exactly it will take the bodies.

The United Nations is considering a resolution that would demand investigators have access to the crash site.  But Russia has the power to veto any UN resolution and is said to be concerned about the wording of the Australian proposal.

(Mark Albert for CBS News)

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