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MH17: Russia Sanctioned By EU, Dutch Bodies Headed Home, Plus Other New Developments

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Jul. 22 2014, Published 3:12 p.m. ET

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We’ve got the latest developments on MH17, the Malaysia Airlines plane shot out of the sky last week over the Eastern Ukraine, leaving 298 passengers dead.

U.S. To Issue Its’ Own Report On Crash

President Barack Obama, who signed a condolence book for the victims Tuesday at the Netherlands Embassy in the nation’s capital, said he aims to "assure the Dutch people that we will work with them to make sure that loved ones are recovered, that a proper investigation is conducted and that ultimately justice is done.” White House officials said that researchers would issue their own reports about the chain of events that left 298 people dead, nearly 2/3 of whom were Dutch. They added that Russian and separatist leaders haven’t cooperated to an acceptable extent, as Dutch investigators have faced too many restrictions in the area.

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Bodies Due Back

The Dutch government is planning to receive its’ first wave of the remains of the crash victims Wednesday, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte said Tuesday. “It is our aim — and at the moment our expectation — that sometime tomorrow the first plane carrying victims will leave for Eindhoven.” The political leader cautioned families who lost loved ones in the crash that some identifications could take up to "weeks or even months” in the wake of the complications retrieving the remains.

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Russian Officials Slapped With Sanctions

A number of Russian authorities Tuesday were struck with a series of sanctions by the European Union, in reaction to their perceived subsequent lack of cooperation with international authorities trying to identify and corral the remains of the crash victims. While the new sanctions are not expected to slam Russia’s economy, such measures could be in the works should the country continue to conduct itself in the fashion that has infuriated leaders and citizens around the globe following last Thursday’s horrific events. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said that a number of top-ranking Russian authorities will have their visas banned, and assets frozen, and can expect more drastic punitive measures to come if the situation remains dredged in the quagmire it’s been in the days following the crash. Next up, according to Timmermans, could bring into the cross-hairs, Russia’s weaponry, energy resources and wealth. German Foreign Minister said that Russia "has not done enough to contribute to a de-escalation of the conflict,” while Obama on Monday said that Russia’s lack of cooperation in the post-crash landscape “begs the question, what exactly are they trying to hide?”

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Media Misinformation

News outlets in Russia, reacting to the downed plane, have consistently foisted the blame onto the Ukrainians for the crash, while the reports out of the Western world have indicated Russian rebels shot the plane down with Russian weaponry. Among the theories Russian outlets have floated to the public: Ukrainians had tried to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a plane he’d boarded flew near the MH17’s path an hour before the plane went down; Ukrainians had a Buk missile launcher of their own, while Russian rebels do not possess one (the latter flying in the face of multiple international reports to the contrary); and that the Ukraine initiated the attack, specifically, to blame on the Russians, and cause them problems with the Western world. The blame game starts at the top, with Putin himself saying, "This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine and, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.”

‘We Want Justice’

Protests on Russia’s Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were ongoing Tuesday, as hundreds of demonstrators, organized by the Malaysian political party United Malays National Organization, shouted, "We want justice,” and calling for the capture and punishment of those responsible for the crash, which left 298 people dead. "We want to ask Russia and also Ukraine to cooperate with investigations," demonstrator Chris Wong told the AP, adding that the marchers were "not accusing anyone" in the deadly disaster.



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