International monitors try to secure sprawling Ukraine plane crash site for investigation

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Associated Press

Posted on July 20, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Updated Sunday, Jul 20 at 2:02 AM

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) — Armed separatists have been hampering access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine.

They've limited the movements of international monitors, raising concerns that evidence showing who brought the plane down and killed the 298 people onboard will be lost, tampered with or destroyed.

The Dutch foreign minister says news of "the bodies being dragged around" and the site not being treated properly has shocked the Netherlands. Most of the passengers on the flight were Dutch. Prime Minister Mark Rutte (RUH'-tuh) says he's had an "extremely intense" telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging him to "show the world he intends to help" in the investigation.

Separatist leader Alexander Borodai is denying that the rebels have interfered with the work of observers in any way. He says he wants the help of the international community in assisting with the cleanup before the bodies deteriorate further.

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APPHOTO XVG119: Emergency workers carry the body of a victim at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, July 19, 2014. World leaders demanded Friday that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (19 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO XVG118: Emergency workers carry the body of a victim at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, July 19, 2014. World leaders demanded Friday that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (19 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO XVG111: An emergency worker cuts through aircraft seat belts to free the body of a victim at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, July 19, 2014. International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (19 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO MOSB119: Pro-Russian fighters walk on a road with victims' bodies lying in bags by the side at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of helping separatist rebels destroy evidence at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane shot down in rebel-held territory — a charge the rebels denied. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (19 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO XVG107: An emergency worker pauses next to bodies of victims loaded on a truck at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, July 19, 2014. World leaders demanded Friday that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (19 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO XVG105: Bodies of victims are covered in plastic sacks at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, July 19, 2014. World leaders demanded Friday that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (19 Jul 2014)

<<APPHOTO XVG105 (07/19/14)££

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