Rebels Release Bodies, Hand Over Black Boxes

US officials say 'rebel recording' is authentic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2014 5:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Bowing to international pressure today, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern Ukraine. With body parts decaying in sweltering heat and signs that evidence at the crash site was mishandled, anger in Western capitals has mounted at the rebels and their allies in Moscow. Their reluctant cooperation will soothe mourning families and help investigators, but may do little to reconcile the East-West powers struggling over Ukraine's future.

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Russia's Defense Ministry said it saw no evidence a missile was fired and denied involvement in the downing of Flight 17—and suggested the Ukrainian military was at fault. President Vladimir Putin spoke out but showed no sign of abandoning the separatists as fighting flared anew near the site of the crash. President Barack Obama accused the rebels of tampering with evidence and insulting victims' families, warning of new sanctions. (And the US embassy in Kiev said that alleged recordings of pro-Russian rebels saying they had shot down the plane are authentic, AFP reports.) Meanwhile, international forensics experts finally gained access to the crash site today. Click for more. (Read more Ukraine stories.)

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