Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

NZ diplomat sent to monitor MH17 investigation

A rebel prevents crash investigators from visiting the site of the downed jet's wreckage. Above, Vladimir Putin, below, John Key. Photo / AP, NZ Herald
A rebel prevents crash investigators from visiting the site of the downed jet's wreckage. Above, Vladimir Putin, below, John Key. Photo / AP, NZ Herald

A New Zealand diplomat from Moscow has been sent to Kiev to monitor an investigation into the Malaysia Airlines disaster, Prime Minister John Key says.

Yesterday he said the Government had called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to show leadership over the crisis.

World leaders had also called on Mr Putin to force Ukrainian rebels to allow access by independent investigators to the crash site.

Mr Key told Radio New Zealand today he was "disgusted, horrified and deeply concerned" for the families of the victims of flight MH17, which was shot down over the Ukraine on Friday.

"This is a commercial airliner that has been shot down at 33,000 feet, 298 lives have been claimed and families have been ripped apart.

"At a very basic minimum those families deserve a thorough investigation that can't take place when essentially rebels aren't giving free access to the corridor of devastation."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had today told Mr Key access was still being restricted.

New Zealand would be represented in Ukraine during the crisis, he said.

"We have sent our consulate from Moscow I think, over to Kiev, so there's someone there already.

"Certainly we're continuing to monitor everything that's going on."

Mr Key said he was concerned that days had gone by, the site was unprotected and only 198 bodies had been removed.

"How can you have a proper and thorough investigation when you've got a crime scene that has got free access to rebels and anybody else?"

President Putin was not showing "real leadership" over the issue, Mr Key said.

"If he was he would be forcing the rebels to essentially have a ceasefire that lasted a lot longer than 24 hours.

"He would be recognising the enormity of what has taken place here and show dignity to those families, and I don't think that's happening."

- APNZ

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