Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Putin 'on side of the devil' Ukraine says, as UN prepares vote for access to site

Russia, one of the permanent Security Council members getting ready to vote on a UN resolution calling for access to the site, said that some forces were using MH17 for political ends

The Ukrainian Prime Minister has said Russian President Putin is "on the side of the devil."

In a news conference today, Arseny Yatseniuk blamed Vladimir Putin for his part in allegedly supplying weapons and fighters to the pro-Moscow insurgents.

"I do not expect anything from the Russian government. They supplied weapons, they sent in fighters.

"Russia is on the dark side, on the side of the devil," he added.

It follows Mr Putin's condemnation of what he says is the exploitation of MH17 for “mercenary objectives.”

Rescue workers are continuing to plough through the remains of the downed plane, while the UN Security Council prepares to vote on a resolution demanding full access to the Ukraine crash site.

In a statement posted to the Kremlin website, Mr Putin said that the crash was being manipulated by forces keen use it for their own purposes, without hinting as to who that might be.

He also said that his government supports an investigation run by a “full team of experts” working at the behest of UN agency the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He criticised Ukraine for reigniting fighting with the rebels and said: "We can say with confidence that if fighting in eastern Ukraine had not been renewed on 28 June, this tragedy would not have happened.

"Nobody should or does have a right to use this tragedy for such mercenary objectives.

"We need to do everything to ensure the security and safety of the observers and the experts working at the crash site."

Video: International anger over MH17 crash

His comments come on the day that UN Security Council members consider an Australia-proposed resolution calling on separatists to make way for international experts, as well as a ceasefire in the vicinity.

Permanent council members will convene at 7pm GMT, with Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, expecting all 15 members to support the vote.

However, as a permanent member of the council, Russia has the power to veto the proposal.

The vote follows accusations that pro-Russian rebels had been looting, tampering with evidence and even removing bodies from the remnants of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, which carried 298 people.

Russia and Australia have been engaged in last minute negotiations, with British Ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, accusing Russia of “tactical procrastination.”

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN ambassador, had said that they were concerned the draft “does not accurately reflect the need for an impartial, international investigation.”

Mr Churkin said Russia had proposed the cease fire, which Australia accepted, though it is unknown how large this area encompasses.

“It looks like a typical Russian delay in tactics, and one can guess why they want delay,” Mr Lyall Grant said.

A caveat of the resolution is also demanding that armed groups do not interfere with debris or victim’s remains and that “those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his country would view a veto by Russia “very badly” as “no reasonable person” could object to its demands.

Video: Aftermath of MH17 crash
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'Make Putin's oligarchs pay'

“This is still an absolutely shambolic situation. It does look more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation,” he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke with President Putin last night, in a conversation that Downing Street said “made clear that if Russia wants to put the blame elsewhere they would need to present compelling and credible evidence.”

Wide-reaching EU sanctions may be unfurled on Russia, it has been revealed, should Mr Putin not use his influence on the armed rebels to placate and force them to cooperate with independent crash site investigators.

Chancellor George Osborne said this morning that the UK would be prepared to take a hit "economically" if sanctions were placed on Russia.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Ms Osborne said that Russia holding the "key" to the pro-Moscow region was an "open secret."

"What I would say to people at home - obviously it is a terrible tragedy - why does it matter? It matters for our security and our economy.

"We have got to live in a world where international borders are respected, where commercial airlines aren't at risk of being shot down.

"When you do sanctions, of course, there is always a potential for that to have an economic impact on you, but you have to consider the much bigger economic impact if you don't act."

European foreign ministers will be meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss these possible sanctions, which could include asset freezes and travel bans on anyone deemed to be supporting the “Putin regime.”

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