The anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was marked with a ceremony at the crash site this Friday.
Residents of the village near the site of the crash, which cost 298 lives, took part in a memorial ceremony to honor the dead. At the same time, video footage has surfaced of pro-Russian rebels sifting through the wreckage in the aftermath of the crash, according to CBS News.
War of words rages over MH17
Villagers congregated in the church in Hrabove before making a procession to the crash site, where a small stone with a plaque was dedicated to the victims. Local leaders and pro-Russian rebels organized the ceremony.
Both the separatists and the Ukrainian army accuse the other of shooting down the plane. Ukrainian and Western officials claim that either the rebels or Russian troops used a missile to shoot down the passenger plane, while Moscow and the rebel leaders say that a Ukrainian warplane or missile was responsible for downing MH17.
Video footage obtained by News Corp Australia was also released on Friday. It shows a group of pro-Russian rebels, who controlled the area around Hrabove at the time of the crash and still do today, walking around the crash site just after the plane hit the ground.
A rebel commander films his men as they walk around the wreckage, sifting through the luggage strewn around the site.
Video shows rebel surprise at finding passenger plane
A translation of the Ukrainian and Russian spoken by the rebels reveals that they are surprised to find that the plane was a civilian aircraft. The commander can be heard speaking with someone on a radio or telephone, talking about the downing of what they apparently believe was a Ukrainian military plane.
At one point a rebel can be heard asking where the wreckage of a Sukhoi jet fighter is. "Is there another plane?" he asks. The response from the other end of the line cannot be heard, but the man then says: "I understand. Keep the perimeter. Don't let civilians get through."
Another man then asks about the wreckage of a fighter jet, to which a fellow fighter tells him: "There it is, it is the passenger plane."
Later on a rebel is heard to say "Malaysia," and then asks "who gave them the corridor" so that they could fly over eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko accuses Russia of sanctioning attack
None of the footage proves that the rebels were responsible for launching the missile which downed MH17, but it does show that they were quick to reach the crash site. The conversation also appears to back up Ukrainian and U.S. claims that the rebels thought MH17 was a military plane when they shot it down.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released a statement marking the anniversary of the crash. He claims that it is impossible that the plane could have been shot down without "a direct order from the highest political and military leadership" of Russia.
Later Poroshenko claimed that Kiev would reclaim the regions which are currently controlled by rebels, and "a memorial to the 298 innocent victims of the barbarian act of terrorism" would be put up.
"With support from all free nations of the world we have enough strength to overcome it (separatist threat). The bits of Donbas, the entire Crimea -- will be back, in Ukraine. We will resurrect everything that has been destroyed, we will mend our wounds," said Poroshenko.
International criticism of pro-Russian separatists
38 Australian citizens were onboard MH17 when it went down, and the footage provoked a strong response from politicians.
"It is disgusting to watch that video footage," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sky News. "I can't verify the authenticity of it, but it is certainly consistent with all that we were told, the advice that we received 12 months ago, that Flight MH17 had been shot down by a missile in eastern Ukraine and that the pro-Russian separatists were involved."
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott accused Moscow of being involved in the attack. "We are confident that it was weaponry that came across the border from Russia, fired and then shortly thereafter -- once it was realized what had happened -- it went back into Russia," he said during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Ceremonies will be held in Australia and the Netherlands. MH17 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam when it was shot down, and the majority of the deceased were Dutch. The video has since been passed on to international investigators who are looking into the cause of the crash.