SYDNEY, July 22 Evidence at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines MH17 has been tampered with on an industrial scale as part of an apparent cover-up attempt, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday.
"After the crime, comes the cover-up. What we have seen is evidence tampering on an industrial scale and obviously that has to stop," Abbott told reporters in Canberra. "It's not an accident. It's a crime."
Abbott added, however, that Russian President Vladimir Putin had so far been "as good as his word" by approving a U.N. Security Council resolution guaranteeing safe access to international monitors trying to secure the scene.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down last week in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board. Twenty eight Australians were killed.
The aircraft's black boxes, which could hold information about the crash in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, were handed to Malaysian officials on Tuesday morning.
(Reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Michael Perry)