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UN demands full access to site of Ukraine plane crash tragedy

A RESOLUTION demanding unrestricted access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site and a full international inquiry into the shooting down of Flight MH17 has been approved unanimously by the United Nations Security Council.

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Under intense diplomatic pressure over its support for Ukrainian separatists blamed by the West for shooting down the plane, killing all 298 on board on Thursday, Russia gave its support to last night's Australia-led call at the emergency meeting in New York.

The UK's ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant said the resolution spelled out the world's demands for an end to the "inexcusable" treatment of the victims' by insurgents controlling the area whose behaviour had been "sickening and appalling beyond belief".

He said: "We owe it to the memory of those 298 victims to ensure that their remains are treated with dignity and with respect. And we owe it to them to find out exactly what happened on the afternoon of July 17. That is the purpose of Resolution 2166. It is a united demand by the international community for the dignified, respectful and professional treatment and recovery of the victims."

He called for the site to be preserved and investigators granted immediate "safe, secure, full and unrestricted" access.

Mr Lyall Grant also said the events should serve as a "wake-up call in Moscow" and prompt a re-examination of Russia's policy supporting, training and arming the separatists.

Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama intensified the rhetoric to stiffen the resolve of some "reluctant" EU counterparts - Italy, for example, is heavily dependent on Russian energy - to back tougher sanctions against Vladimir Putin's government, which, they insisted, was facing a "defining moment" in its relationship with the West.

Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, whose country suffered the heaviest loss of almost 200 dead, said around the same number of bodies were now on their way in a refrigerated train to Donetsk. But it was unknown how long it would take to repatriate the victims to their home countries.

The 10 British victims included Scottish oil worker Stephen Anderson, 44.

It was announced the rebels had finally agreed to hand over the black box flight recorders to Malaysia Airlines representatives.

Earlier in an emergency Commons statement, the Prime Minister said "cronies and oligarchs" around the Russian President should be targeted with sanctions like travel bans and asset freezes but also wider economic measures across sectors like energy, financial services and defence should also be considered.

Mr Cameron, placing pressure on French President Francois Hollande to take a stronger line ahead of a Brussels meeting of EU foreign ministers today, made clear that it would be "unthinkable" for France to complete its current £1 billion sale of warships to Russia.

He told MPs for too long there had been "reluctance" on the part of some European nations to face up to the implications of the unrest in eastern Ukraine.

l Robert Black, the architect of the Lockerbie trial, has accused the Scottish and UK Governments of hypocrisy for demanding full disclosure from Russia over the Ukraine crash, after they refused to reopen the investigation into the 1988 atrocity.

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