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Russia wants to hide MH17’s black boxes, claims Ukraine security service

UKRAINE: Ukraine’s security service has released a recording it says features pro-Russian separatists talking about trying to hide the black boxes from flight MH17 at the request of Moscow. The claim was made as footage emerged of at least one of the flight data recorders - which are in fact orange - being picked up by a rescue worker on Friday.

In the audio clip which contains three separate conversations, a fighter who is identified as “O Khodakovskyi” tells a second person named as ‘Andriy’, “I have a request for you. It is not my request. Our friends from high above are very much interested in the fate of the ‘black boxes’. I mean people from Moscow.

“Please, co-operate with the Ministry of Emergency. All that you find must not come into somebody else’s hands. Try to take everything that you find so that it doesn’t get into somebody else’s hands. All those people that are coming, OSCE and so on.”

The conversations are alleged to have taken place on Friday, the day after the Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

The pro-Russian separatists and Moscow have both denied having any part in the disaster, which killed 298 people. But Ukraine has made repeated claims that pro-Russian rebels with Russian equipment blew the jet out of the sky before Moscow helped them cover it up by allowing the missile launcher blamed for the attack back across the border.

It has also been claimed that rebels tampered with evidence and bodies at the crash site. The separatists have now acknowledged that they have what are presumed to be the flight recorders from the Boeing 777-200 in the eastern city of Donetsk.

“Some items, presumably the black boxes, were found, and they have been delivered to Donetsk and they are under our control,” Aleksander Borodai, prime minister of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic, told a news conference.

“There are no specialists among us who could pinpoint the look of the black boxes, but we brought to Donetsk some technical items which could be the black boxes of the airliner.” He said they would be handed over to the International Civil Aviation Organisation and also repeated that the rebels do not have the capability to shoot down a plane flying at 33,000ft.