WASHINGTON: The missile system used to shoot down a Malaysian airliner was handed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine by Moscow, the top US diplomat said Sunday.
"It's pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia in the hands of separatists," US Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN, saying that a sophisticated SA-11 system had been used in Thursday's crash.
"We know with confidence, with confidence that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point in time. So it obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists."
The top US diplomat also slammed "grotesque" scenes at the crash site where he said rebels were hampering the investigation and the proper removal of bodies of the 298 crash victims.
International monitors said Sunday that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine had loaded scores of bodies from the crash site of downed Malaysian jet MH17 into train wagons.
What happens to the remains of the 298 people killed in the apparent shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane on Thursday has become a major concern after they have lain for days rotting in cornfields.
World leaders have demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin use his influence to persuade the rebels to hand over the victims and allow international investigators unfettered access to the crash site in Grabove.
Kerry laid out US evidence which he said pointed to the involvement of the separatists in Thursday's horrific crash saying Washington had "extraordinary circumstantial evidence."
"We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory," he told NBC's Meet the Press. "We know where it came from. We know the timing."
"And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar. We also know, from voice identification, that the separatists were bragging about shooting it down afterwards."
What was now happening at the crash site where international investigators have only had limited access was "really grotesque," Kerry said.
"There are reports of drunken separatist soldiers unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies, as well as evidence, from the site," Kerry alleged.
The US secretary of state renewed calls to Putin to step up and pressure the rebels to allow unfettered access to the site.
"It is clear that Russia supports the separatists, supplies the separatists, encourages the separatists, trains the separatists. And Russia needs to step up and make a difference here," he added on NBC. (AFP)