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Obama criticizes pro-Russian rebels for blocking access to Malaysia crash site

During a televised speech from the White House South Lawn Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama sternly criticized Russia for denying access to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as crash site investigators from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe tried to gather forensic evidence.

President Obama Denounces Russian Rebels Blocking Crash Site of Malaysia Airlines Plane
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Obama said pro-Russian rebels have not only removed evidence, they delayed the collection of the bodies for three-days as the dead were seen in an open field decaying.

CBS News reported Obama questioned the motives of the pro-Russian rebels during his speech saying "All of which begs the question: what exactly are they trying to hide?"

Obama went on to say that Russia has great influence over the pro-Russian rebels declaring that "Russia, and President Putin in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least that they can do," Obama said. "President Putin says that he supports a full and fair investigation, and I appreciate those words, but they have to be supported by actions."

The international community Obama went on to say will become increasingly more suspicious which is risky if Russia continues to back the rebels saying, "the costs for Russia's behavior will only continue to increase."

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko who appeared on CNN said when investigators got close to the scene of the crash, pro-Russian rebels were seen firing their weapons into the air as a warning to stay away. The Ukraine president also denounced the way the crash scene has been handled by Russia putting more pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Poroshenko said the pro-Russian rebels are terrorists and a "danger to the whole world" and to "global security" calling upon the international community to express their outrage.

"I don't see any differences" between 9/11, the Lockerbie bombing and the attack on Flight 17, Poroshenko said as he referred to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in D.C. and also the terrorist bombing of the Pan Am flight over Scotland in 1988.

After the remains of 251 passengers were loaded into refrigerated train cars yesterday in tagged body bags, The New York Times reported that Ukrainian officials have confirmed the train is expected to arrive in the eastern city of Kharkiv by midnight, however will have to pass through Donetsk, one of the worst regions of fighting in recent weeks between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine government forces.

Evidence continues to mount against Russia by U.S. officials who say they are confident the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down by pro-Russia separatists by using what they believe was a BOK missile launching system using a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

"Russia has trained them. We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons. Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens," Obama said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and other leaders around the world seem to agree that the pro-Russian rebels could not have shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane without the rebels being trained by Russia.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence is in the process of examining the intercepted phone calls by Ukraine military in which pro-Russian separatists were heard talking to their commander they shot down the plans. Social media posts and other evidence such as the plane's "black boxes" are also being gathered to determine if Russian officials were connected to the downing of Malaysia Flight 17.

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