Obama calls for immediate access to MH17 crash site

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is calling for international investigators to have “immediate and full access” to the site in eastern Ukraine, where a passenger jet was shot down last week.

Obama accused pro-Russian separatists in the area of removing evidence and bodies from the crash site. He says that raising the question of “what exactly are they trying to hide?”

The president says the burden is on Russia and President Vladimir Putin to compel the separatists to cooperate with the investigation. Obama says that if Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, Moscow “will only further isolate itself” and the economic costs will continue to increase.

The White House says the missile that brought down the Malaysia Airlines plane was fired from an area controlled by the separatists.

Obama also expressed serious concern about the rising number of casualties in the Gaza Strip.

Obama on Monday called for an immediate ceasefire. He’s asking Secretary of State John Kerry to do whatever he can to help negotiate one at talks in Egypt.

Israel’s fight against Hamas has killed at least 530 Palestinians and 20 Israelis and displaced tens of thousands of people from Gaza in the past two weeks.

The president says Israel has already done significant damage to Hamas. But he says he doesn’t want to see more civilians getting killed.

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