Heavy Fighting Blocks Investigators From MH17 Site

UN calls downing of MH17 a war crime

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 28, 2014 4:21 AM CDT | Updated Jul 28, 2014 7:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Heavy fighting has turned back international investigators for a second day from the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down. The Ukrainian military has launched a major offensive against pro-Russia rebels, and it's no longer clear who's in control of the crash site, reports the New York Times. Dutch and Australian investigators and a forensics team tried to reach the site yesterday and today after an agreement was reached with rebel leaders, but they turned back because of artillery fire, reports the AP. The international team holed up in the town of Shakhtarsk, about 20 miles from the crash site; AP reporters there say they saw an apartment complex struck by artillery fire as residents hightailed it out of town. "This is a contested zone. There is active fighting going on," an Australian police official says, according to CNN. As the Ukraine military battles rebels, there have been reports of casualties in several cities, including Horlivka, around 30 miles from the crash site, where at least 13 people were killed yesterday.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said today that the downing of the Malaysia jet is a violation of international law that may constitute a war crime and every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice, the BBC reports. The US, meanwhile, has released satellite images it says proves that Russia fired artillery from over the border the week after the jet was downed, reports the AP. Russia denies involvement in the conflict, and its foreign ministry accuses the US of carrying out "an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, evermore relying on open lies."

Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine yesterday.
Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine yesterday.   (Dmitry Lovetsky)
A Ukrainian official, a rebel fighter and members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine examine a map in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine yesterday.
A Ukrainian official, a rebel fighter and members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine examine a map in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine yesterday.   (Dmitry Lovetsky)
About 250 people protest against Russia's behavior in the Ukraine conflict in Warsaw, Poland yesterday.
About 250 people protest against Russia's behavior in the Ukraine conflict in Warsaw, Poland yesterday.   (Czarek Sokolowski)
Pro-Russian fighters drive a tank on a road near the town of Yanakiyevo, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine.
Pro-Russian fighters drive a tank on a road near the town of Yanakiyevo, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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