David Cameron told Vladimir Putin he must ensure access to the MH17 crash site so victims of the disaster can hold proper funerals for their loved ones.
The British Prime Minister spoke to the Russian president for the first time since MH17 was brought down, apparently by pro-Moscow rebels, in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
Cameron, who was left frustrated by Putin’s refusal to speak to him until yesterday, said he had “made clear” his demands in the phone call which came as the European Union looked set to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over its support for rebels in Ukraine.
He said: “I’ve just spoken to president Putin. I made clear he must ensure access to the crash site so the victims can have proper funerals.”
Rebels in eastern Ukraine took control of the bodies recovered from the downed Malaysia Airlines aeroplane.
Donetsk rebel leader Alexander Borodai said the bodies recovered from the crash site would remain in four refrigerated train cars in the rebel-held town of Torez, nine miles from the crash site, until the arrival of an international aviation delegation.
A No 10 spokeswoman said Cameron had made clear to Putin that the shooting down of MH17 was “totally unacceptable” and Russia’s failure to cease support for the separatists had “contributed to an appalling tragedy”.
Cameron told the president that the “world was now watching” and he “must change course and work to bring stability to eastern Ukraine”, the spokeswoman said.
Foreign secretary Philip Hammond accused Russia of “obfuscation and obstruction” and said Putin could “snap his fingers” and allow a proper investigation to take place at the crash site.
He warned Russia could become a “pariah state” if it did not behave properly on the international stage.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved