Mourners, world leaders blast Putin

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As grief turned into anger in the country with the most victims on MH17, one word on the front page of a Dutch newspaper said it all.

"MURDERERS", screamed the weekend headline of the major Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

The Dutch, from its leaders to citizens, have hurled collective fury against one man: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Throughout the world, leaders and mourners have sought to blame Mr Putin, even as they appeal to him to help allow some dignity to the dead and use his influence over Ukrainian separatists to provide a safe path for investigators to the crash site. But so far, Mr Putin has refused to budge.

The Netherlands lost 193 citizens on MH17, scores of them children.

"Russia risks becoming a pariah state if it does not behave properly," UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a TV interview on Sky News.

"We now need to use the sense of outrage that is clear to get a further round of sanctions tightening against Russia, with further steps as well, if the Russians do not comply with the requirements that the whole international community now places upon them."

The crash site at Grabovo, in a part of Ukraine that is under the control of pro-Russia separatists, is providing a focal point for global anger as armed rebels hover over the investigation, making the reclamation of wreckage and corpses more difficult.

Limbs and bodies are still scattered around the area and governments are pleading with Mr Putin to be allowed greater access to take the remains home.


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has described pictures of Ukraine rebels digging through the possessions of people killed in disaster as "disgusting".

Mr Rutte said he had a "very intense" phone call with Mr Putin.

Mr Putin now "has to show that he will do what is expected of him and will exert his influence".

"It is 35 degrees there. The bodies need to be recovered now. I want to see results, unhindered access and the repatriation of the victims."

Mr Rutte himself has not been spared.

"Put away the diplomatic words, Mr Rutte. This is slaughter, why are we being so nice to Putin?" said Mr Hans Hoofte, an Amsterdam local.

The Telegraaf wrote: "The Netherlands should be banging its fists on the table... The cabinet needs to make it clear to the world that we are seething with anger. This is terror, a war crime, mass murder!"

A columnist from another Dutch daily, Trouw, wrote that the Dutch streets are empty of protest but warn that the tragedy has hit the country so hard it could be a turning point in the Ukrainian armed conflict.

"Otherwise, those 298 deaths of flight MH17 will be nothing more than useless accidental victims of violence,'' Trouw said.

Bloomberg news agency pointed out in a commentary that Mr Putin risks "Pariah" status as pressure mounts in the aftermath of the crash.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was backed by leaders from Britain, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia and France - as well as Ukraine - in calling on Mr Putin to intervene in getting an international probe under way.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, writing in the Sunday Times newspaper, called for tougher European action against Moscow if Mr Putin did not change tack.

Almost 100 members of Sydney's Ukrainian community demonstrated disgust aimed principally at Mr Putin, with banners declaring "G19 No Russia No Killer Putin", "Putin Terrorist" and "TerroRussian Number One".

Families just want to bring the bodies of the victims home

From Malaysia to the Netherlands, grieving relatives are pleading openly to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help bring the bodies of their loved ones home.

Mr Mohamad Shidee Mohamad Ghazali, 28, a welder, said: "Of course there is anger. Why must this happen only to us, Malaysia? I really feel like beating that Russian, Vladimir Putin."

Mr Zulkifli Abdul Rahman, the brother-in-law of MH17 chief flight attendant Azrina Yakob, told AFP yesterday that the family wanted to get her remains to bury her.

"Her mother's wish is for the remains to be brought back so that we can have a proper burial, so that over time, the children can visit the grave," the 54-year-old project manager said.

Madam Azrina, 41, a mother of two, had been working for Malaysia Airlines for about 20 years.

Ms Asfarina Kartika, 28, lost her cousin Ariza Ghazalee, who had been on MH17 with her husband Tambi Jiee and their four children.


She said: "Our main concern is for the bodies and any other remains to be brought back to Malaysia for a proper at least there is a grave for us to visit."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has vowed to do "our best to bring back the victims of the tragedy".

Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying "Let's bring them home", referring to the dead Australians.

His lament was shared by 2,000 mourners at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral. Millions more were pausing to grieve for the at least 37 Australian citizens and residents shot from the sky over Ukraine, Sir Peter said on Sunday.

A mother left devastated by the disaster appealed to Mr Putin "to send my children home".

Ms Silene Fredriksz held up a photo of her son Bryce, 23, and his 20-year-old girlfriend Daisy as she pleaded for the return of their bodies.

"I want to arrange their funeral. I can't. I don't know where they are. I want them back. I want my children back."