Russian UN Envoy Accuses Ukraine of Crash Site Takeover

Russia's envoy to the United Nations accused Ukraine of violating a key Security Council resolution with its campaign to seize control of the crash site of Malaysian airliner MH17.

Vitaly Churkin said Ukrainian forces were targeting civilians in the area and failing to abide by the resolution that calls on all sides to refrain from fighting near the crash site.

"Ukrainian security officials have said that it was their intention to take over the site militarily," Churkin told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York.

"That of course would amount to a direct violation of Resolution 2166."

The Security Council last week adopted the Australian-backed resolution condemning the downing of the passenger plane that left 298 dead, demanding that all military operations cease and calling for a full investigation.

"Continued military activity by Ukrainian forces in the vicinity of the crash site is clearly not compatible with the resolution that the Security Council has adopted," he said.

After explosions and fighting blocked a new attempt by Dutch and Australian police to access the east Ukraine crash site, Kiev confirmed today that its forces were engaged in fierce clashes with rebels nearby.

The Ukrainian military said its troops had battled their way into a string of towns around the scene, including Shakhtarsk, 10 kilometers away.

Churkin said Kiev's offensive "has exceeded all humanly imaginable limits" with shelling of cities and towns. "Civilians are dying by the dozens," he said.

Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations over the fighting in east Ukraine, with Kiev saying that Moscow is backing separatist rebels and most likely provided the weaponry that brought down the passenger plane.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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