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Dutch PM urges Putin to show leadership as nation grieves

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has piled the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert his influence so that investigators can have unhindered access to the crash site

AMSTERDAM: The Netherlands remains in a state of shock and disbelief over the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which claimed 289 lives -- 192 of which were Dutch citizens.

Makeshift memorials have been set up outside Schiphol airport in Amsterdam where several news gatherers remain, but the focus of the story in Holland has turned to The Hague now, where officials are trying to get to the bottom of the disaster behind closed doors.

A crisis meeting been taking place at the Ministry of Justice, but few verified details have emerged regarding the main points of discussion. Amid growing calls for answers Prime Minister Mark Rutte has expressed disgust over pictures of rebels digging through the possessions of people killed in the disaster.

He has piled the pressure on President Vladimir Putin, telling him time is running out to show the world he has good intentions and that he must exert his influence in order for investigators to have unhindered access to the crash site -- especially so that bodies can be returned home.

"I think he's missed an opportunity to show that he is a leader and that he can influence political situations, like in Ukraine and he should have done that I think, to show he's someone with influence and power,” Mr Rutte said. “And he didn't, and I think that's a big mistake."

Mr Rutte together with his British counterpart David Cameron have urged the European Union to revise its stance on Russia as evidence mounts that pro-Russian separatists brought down the plane over Ukraine.


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