By Ian Swanson - 07/19/14 07:37 AM EDT
Leaders of a militia group in Ukraine say it’s possible the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has been looted, and that local people in Ukraine are now using the credit cards of victims, according to an MSNBC News report.
MSNBC reporter Keir Simmons said militia representatives held a news conference early Saturday morning where they made the stunning statements.
“Just to share with you some shocking news that we’re hearing from a militia news conference that’s just been held in the last hour, one of the leaders of that group saying apparently at that news conference that it is possible that local people here have been using the credit cards of some of those victims,” Simmons said. “If that is the case that is absolutely stunning.”
The comments come amid deep concern that the crash site of the downed plane, believed to have been shot down with a surface-to-air missile that came from militia-held territory in Ukraine, has not been secured.
The plane crashed in Ukraine, but on territory controlled by Russian separatist groups fighting the central government in Kiev.
Malaysia’s government has expressed deep concern that the site has not been properly secured, and that its integrity has been compromised. It has called on all parties to ensure that the remains of the 298 people killed are recovered and treated with respect.
In a round of calls to foreign leaders on Friday, President Obama also repeatedly called for international investigators to be given unfettered access to the crash site.
There have been worries that attempts to assess who was responsible for downing the plane will be complicated because of poor access to the crash site. International investigators on Friday were only given 75 minutes at the site.