Russia May Have Given Missiles To Ukrainian Rebels

by Lauren Barbato

Two days after the deadly crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, tensions continue to mount between the Ukraine and Russia as reports outline incidences of looting, tampering with evidence and unauthorized moving of bodies. Ukrainian state officials have started putting more pressure on its neighbor, claiming on Saturday that they have evidence that the Russian government provided Ukrainian rebels with the missile system that allegedly brought down the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight.

According to The New York Times, Vitaly Nayda, the head of counterintelligence for the Ukrainian State Security Service, revealed the new information at a press conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Nayda presented photographs of three Buk-M1 missile systems on the road heading to the Russian border. The Buk missile launchers were attached to armed vehicles, and reportedly crossed into Russia early Friday morning.

Nayda said he believed the moving of the missile launchers, as well as reports of pro-Russian separatists blocking investigators and removing bodies from the crash site, pointed to a cover-up led by Russia. These allegations sparked greater outrage in the eastern Ukraine region, where rescue workers and pro-Russian separatists alike are trying to navigate the sprawling field of wreckage and debris.

Although many state officials from around the world have called for a political ceasefire in the wake of tragedy, some leaders are demanding answers from Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Saturday evening that Putin has "one last chance" to show that he and his country are willing to help.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images News/Getty Images

According to The Guardian, Rutte had a "very intense" conversation with the Russian president on Saturday, and is still disappointed and angered by Russia's lack of action. On the reports of bodies being treated with disrespect at the crash site, Rutte said: "I was shocked at the pictures of utterly disrespectful behaviour at this tragic spot. It's revolting."

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron also addressed the current state of affairs between Russia and the west, calling for a change of approach from the European Union if Russia continues to disregard the conflict in the Ukraine.

"This is a direct result of Russia destabilising a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias, and training and arming them," Cameron said. "We must turn this moment of outrage into a moment of action."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott directed more anger at Russia on Saturday, telling ABC News, "Russia can’t wash its hands of this." He added that he did not have much faith left in Russia: "My fear is that Russia will say the right thing but still try to interfere on the ground." Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop departed for the United States on Saturday, where she will meet with the United Nations. Australia lost nearly 30 citizens on MH17.