Malaysia Airlines

Two days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in the war zone of eastern Ukraine, the grim task began of gathering the remains of some of the 298 victims of the disaster in body bags ready for removal. Artillery fire could be heard in the near distance from the crash scene, where a team of observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe gained access Saturday for a second day. With evidence so far showing the commercial flight was shot down, international pressure increased Saturday for Russia to exert its influence over separatist rebels it supports who are fighting the Ukrainian government in the region. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the European Union needs to reconsider its approach to Russia in light of the evidence that the rebels fired the fatal missile. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to express "strong concern of the need to de-escalate tensions" in Ukraine after the plane disaster, including an immediate cease-fire, and to ensure access to the crash site, a senior State Department official told CNN.

Access an issue:

Access to the crash site became the major focus in the Donetsk region controlled by the pro-Russion rebels where the plane debris came down in a huge swath. OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, briefing reporters from the scene, said the observers were still being denied access to certain areas but that their movements were freer than the previous day, when they were met with hostility by rebels. The fields where the plane came down Thursday, near the town of Torez, are in a volatile rebel-controlled area, making access to the scattered debris, bodies and body parts difficult. The United States said a surface-to-air missile fired from rebel territory took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The plane, which had 298 people aboard from more than 10 nations, was traveling from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The Ukrainian government said Friday that MH17's flight data recorders are still in Ukrainian territory but didn't clarify whether they were in Ukraine's possession.

An international tragedy:

The full list of the passengers was released Saturday. According to a final breakdown from Malaysia Airlines, 193 of those killed were from the Netherlands, including one who had dual U.S.-Dutch citizenship.

Russia-Ukraine dispute:

Tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia since street protests forced former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February. Russia subsequently annexed Ukraine's southeastern Crimea region, and a pro-Russian separatist rebellion has been raging in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Ukraine has accused Russia of allowing weapons and military equipment, including tanks, to cross the border illegally into the hands of pro-Russian rebels. Athlete, football fans, vacationing family among Malaysia Airlines crash victims. By Tom Cohen, Laura Smith-Spark and Phil Black, CNN.



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