A unit of heavily armed rebels blocked the 30-strong team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), cordoning off a large part of the crash site. The inspectors retreated after an hour-long standoff, having been unable to gain access. They were sent on their way by warning shots fired by the rebel unit commander.
"We will keep coming back tomorrow and the next day and the next day," said OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw. "Tomorrow will be a crunch day. There are a lot of experts from the Netherlands and Malaysia gathering in Kiev as well as relatives. The bodies are starting to bloat and decay. An expert team is clearly needed. There is a lot to be done in a short amount of time."
In Washington, Obama called for a full, impartial investigation and said the tragedy should cause people to "snap their heads together" and stop playing games in Ukraine. In veiled criticism of the lack of European support for US-led economic sanctions against Russia, Obama said the loss of so many European lives should serve as a wake-up call for Europe.
He said while it was too early to be completely sure who was responsible and what their motives were, the US was certain that a missile fired from within territory controlled by Russian separatists brought down the jet. He stopped short of directly blaming Moscow for the tragedy, but said it was down to Vladimir Putin to end the violence that has plagued Ukraine for months.