KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia issued an impassioned plea Saturday for the MH17 disaster site in Ukraine to be protected from tampering, saying evidence was being compromised in what it called a "betrayal of the lives that were lost."
Concerns are mounting over the integrity of the crash zone in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, with the government in Kiev on Saturday accusing Moscow of helping pro-Russian separatist insurgents destroy evidence.
"Malaysia is deeply concerned that the crash site has not been properly secured," Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters.
"The integrity of the site has been compromised, and there are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place."
Ukraine says the rebels shot down the Malaysian Airlines plane Thursday, killing all 298 aboard.
Liow, who leaves for Kiev later Saturday to join Malaysian officials already there in hopes of assisting an investigation, called "for all parties to protect the integrity of the crash site, and to allow the investigation to proceed".
A Ukraine government statement said pro-Russia rebels had removed 38 bodies to a morgue in the insurgent-controlled city of Donetsk where "specialists with clearly Russian accents" were to conduct autopsies.