U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte urged the European Union to revise its stance on Russia as evidence mounted that pro-Russian rebels brought down a passenger jet over Ukraine.
Cameron and Rutte in a telephone conversation yesterday “agreed that the EU will need to reconsider its approach to Russia in light of evidence that pro-Russian separatists brought down the plane,” according to a statement from the U.K. government.
Since a Malaysia Airlines jet crashed on July 17, EU leaders have been divided over what actions they should take toward the Kremlin. Germany sought an impartial probe of the downing of the plane, Poland demanded a harder line while Italy signaled no shift from its opposition to more biting sanctions. EU officials gave priority to enacting penalties that were sketched out at a summit last week before the crash.
Rutte, who also pressed for an independent investigation into the cause of the crash, hardened his stance as rebels hindered access to the site where 193 Dutch perished out of a total of 298 victims.
“I am shocked by footage of completely disrespectful behavior on this tragic site,” Rutte said at a press conference in The Hague. “Against all rules of a careful investigation, it turns out there are people messing with personal and recognizable possessions of victims.”
It’s also grave that the investigation is being thwarted by pro-Russian rebels, Rutte said, even after Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised to fully cooperate in ensuring unfettered access to the area.
“I just had a very intense telephone conversation with the Russian president and told him he is running out of chances to show the world he means that he wants to help,” Rutte said. “He needs to take his responsibility now toward the rebels and show the Netherlands and the world that he does what is being expected of him, which is using his influence.”
Rutte said his views are shared by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who lost 27 citizens in the crash, Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“I want to see results in the form of unhindered access and quick recovery, this is now the first priority,” Rutte said.
The Foreign Office in London yesterday confirmed that Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was summoned for talks with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
“We demand that those in control of the crash site cooperate with us and our international partners” to ensure proper treatment of the victims, Hammond told Yakovenko.
To contact the reporters on this story: Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam at firstname.lastname@example.org; Jurjen van de Pol in Frankfurt at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at firstname.lastname@example.org; James Cone at email@example.com James Cone