Britain says Russia must use influence over separatists in plane disaster

LONDON, July 19 Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:01am EDT

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LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Britain said on Saturday that Russia must use its influence over Ukrainian separatists to improve access to the site of the downed Malaysian aircraft, adding it was calling in the country's ambassador over the disaster.

"We're not getting enough support from the Russians," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told the BBC.

"We're not seeing the Russians using their influence effectively enough to get the separatists, who are in control of the site, to facilitate the access that we need," he said, adding that he had called in the Russian ambassador.

Hammond said there was a "growing body of evidence" that suggested that Ukrainian separatists were behind the downing of the aircraft, which had 298 passengers aboard, of whom 10 were Britons.

Late on Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to President Barack Obama and the pair "reiterated the need to take further action if Russia continues to fail to take ... steps" to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict, the White House said. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alison Williams)

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