Ukraine rebels destroying all links to MH17 air atrocity — report

July 20: The only New Zealand citizen on flight MH17 has been named. She was Mary Menke (65). Ms Menke lives in Australia. She and her Dutch-born husband Gerry were flying home after celebrating his 70th birthday with family and friends in the south of France.

Earlier, NZ resident Robert Ayley, father of two sons under five, was named as one of the 298 fatalies. Mr Ayley, originally from the UK but living in Otaki, was reportedly tavelling on a UK passport.


July 19: Pro-Russia separatist groups in eastern Ukraine are hastily covering up all links to the Buk missile battery suspected to have been used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane, according to western-based defence and intelligence specialists, The Guardian reports.

As the UN security council called for a "full, thorough independent international investigation" into the downing of the plane, concern that a cover-up was under way was fuelled by a standoff at part of the crash site between observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and rebel gunmen, which ended with a warning shot being fired, The Guardian says.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power has called for the crash site to be preserved. "All evidence must be undisturbed," she said. "Russia needs to help make this happen."

A preserved crash site is needed to help establish if a Russian-built, vehicle-mounted Buk missile system to bring down MH17, killing all 298 passengers and crew. But observers say chances of cooperation are low.

There is also confusion over the black boxes and other devices that might or might nt have been salvaged from the plane. A rebel military commander initially said he was considering what to do with them, while another rebel leader, Aleksandr Borodai, contradicting his colleague, said the rebels had no black boxes or any other devices.

Meanwhile, one of two New Zealand passenges on MH17 has been named. 

He was Otaki man Robert Ayley, father of two sons under five. Mr Ayley, originally from the UK, was reportedly tavelling on a UK passport.

The second New Zealander was a woman living in Australia with her Dutch husband. She has yet to be named.

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