MH17: US and UK pile pressure on Russia

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MH17: US and UK pile pressure on Russia

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US President Barack Obama has accused Russian-backed separatists of continuing to block the international investigation into the crash of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Asking what they were hiding, the US president said the burden was on Moscow to force rebels to co-operate.

“Given its direct influence over the separatists, 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. President Putin says that he supports a full and fair investigation and I appreciate those words but they have to be supported by actions,” Obama said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the clear cause of the tragedy was Russia’s attempt to destabilise Ukraine, citing its support for rebels who evidence showed had shot down the plane.

Speaking in the British parliament, Cameron pressed EU leaders to impose tougher sanctions on Moscow.

“If Russia does not change course then we must be clear that Europe must keep increasing the pressure. Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets, European capital, European knowledge and technical expertise while she fuels conflict in one of Europe’s neighbours,” Cameron said.

Whether new sanctions are imposed may depend on the Netherlands’ stance.

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who accompanied bereaved families as they met the king and queen, has said apportioning blame prematurely could be counter-productive.

Dutch prosecutors investigating the crash have begun an inquiry into murder and war crimes.