Militants Thwart Efforts to Investigate MH17 Crash Site

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The chairman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a security and rights group, told Reuters that the organization's monitors were not given adequate access to the crash site of Malaysian Airline's flight MH17.

"They did not have the kind of access that they expected. They did not have the freedom of movement that they need to do their job," Thomas Greminger said. He told CNN that the group was "only allowed access to about a 200-meter strip" and heavily armed militants sent them away after about 75 minutes. 

In a video conference with Russian, Ukrainian and USCE officials held earlier on Friday, the separatists had agreed to comply with a full international investigation, which included safe and complete access to the crash site in eastern Ukraine. 

The USCE's claims come shortly after President Obama called for transparency.

"There has to be a credible international investigation," he said in a press conference Friday afternoon. "We will hold all [the U.N. Security Council's] members, including Russia, to their word. Evidence must not be tampered with."

Since Thursday's crash the Russian government and pro-Russian separatists that control the crash site have tried to deflect media criticism and blame the incident squarely on Ukraine. 

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Sara Firth, a London based reporter for Russia Today quit Friday because of what she said was a deliberate misinformation by the state backed television station

"It was the total disregard to the facts. We threw up eyewitness accounts from someone on the ground openly accusing the Ukrainian government [of involvement in the disaster]," Firth told Buzzfeed. "I couldn't do it anymore," she added. 

The team of 17 OSCE monitors will try again to gain access again on Saturday.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.