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Kerry: Russian separatist 'posted a bragging statement' about MH-17 shootdown

Following the shootdown of a Malaysian commercial airliner by missile over the Ukraine, United States Secretary of State John Kerry hit the Sunday news talk shows hard and made the case that what is happening 'is really grotesque' and called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to step up and use his influence to intervene immediately to secure the crime scene.

Last March in the Hague, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte listens.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

John Kerry's remarks, posted on the State Department website from a Meet the Press interview, shows his anger:

"Well, what’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything that President Putin and Russia said that they would do. There are reports of drunken separatist soldiers unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies as well as evidence from the site."

'We know that they had an SA-11 system'

Following up on a question regarding the investigation and whereabouts of the black box which contains the recordings of the flight, Kerry stated this:

"In the last month, we have observed major supplies moving in. Several weeks ago, about 150-vehicle convoy, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, rocket launches, artillery all going in and being transferred to the separatists. We know that they had an SA-11 system in the vicinity literally hours before the shoot-down took place. There are social media records of that. They were talking, and we have the intercepts of their conversations talking about the transfer and movement and repositioning of the SA-11 system."

Continuing further, Kerry said:

"The social media showed them with this system moving through the very area where we believe the shoot-down took place hours before it took place. Social media – which is an extraordinary tool, obviously, in all of this – has posted recordings of a separatist bragging about the shoot-down of a plane at the time, right after it took place. The defense minister, so-called self-appointed of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Mr. Igor Strelkov, actually posted a bragging statement on the social media about having shot down a transport. And then when it became apparent it was civilian, they quickly removed that particular posting. "

Among other remarks he made, the transcripts provided online at the Department of State, one interview on Fox news underscored Kerry's concerns on the tragedy, when he was asked again about "Pro-Russian separatists" compromising the investigation, refusing to allow investigators full access and reports that almost 200 bodies of those killed in the missile strike against MH-17 were removed from the crash site.

Drunken soldiers 'disturbing the evidence'

Secretary John Kerry stated the crime scenes had been "seriously compromised." He added:

"On Friday, the monitors and the people trying to get in there to secure the site were given 75 minutes. Yesterday, they were given three hours. Drunken – I mean literally drunken separatist soldiers are piling bodies into trucks unceremoniously and disturbing the evidence and disturbing the pattern that is there. Anything that is removed – and we understand some aircraft parts have been removed – compromises the investigation."

Plainly he made a plea for Russia and Mr. Putin when he said "So we need full access. And this is a moment of truth for Russia. Some of the leaders of the separatists are Russian. Russia arms these separatists. Russia trains these separatists. Russia supports these separatists. Russia has spoken out and has refused to call on them publicly to do the things that need to be done. So I think this is a fundamental moment of truth for Russia, for Mr. Putin. They need to exert all of the influence that they have in order to protect the full integrity of this investigation."

Emergency workers at the site of the air crash in Ukraine have recovered 196 bodies so far, with 193 of those being Dutch nationals according to a story from Dutchnews online.

In an official statement made by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, he calls upon Russian leader Putin to become more involved. "I want to see results in the form of unhindered access and a speedy recovery of the victims’ remains. This is now priority number one. Putin must take responsibility vis-à-vis the rebels and show the Netherlands and the world that he is doing what is expected of him," said Rutte.

Dutch PM: 'This is appalling'

Rutte stated clearly that a swift recovery of the victims’ remains "is now an absolute necessity and our highest priority. Anyone who fails to cooperate fully and immediately is leaving themselves open to very serious suspicions."

The Dutch prime minister added in the official remarks that he was "shocked by the images of completely disrespectful" behavior. He added it was appalling to him.

"In defiance of all the rules of proper investigation, people have evidently been picking through the personal and recognisable belongings of the victims. This is appalling."