Another 21 bodies have been found in the sprawling fields of east Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed last week, killing all 298 people aboard.
Local rescue workers had piled 21 black body bags by the side of the road in Hrabove early Monday. It was unclear how quickly they would be transported to refrigerated railcars in the nearby town of Torez, where the other bodies are being held.
On Sunday night, Ukraine's emergency services agency said the total number of bodies found was 251. International indignation over the incident has grown as investigators still only have limited access to the crash site and it remains unclear when and where the victims' bodies will be transported.
Pro-Moscow rebels piled nearly 200 bodies from the downed Malaysian jetliner into four refrigerated boxcars Sunday in eastern Ukraine, and cranes at the crash scene moved big chunks of the Boeing 777, drawing condemnation that the site was being tampered with.
The pressure has been growing on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the U.S. and others say has backed and armed the rebels, to rein in the insurgents in Ukraine and allow a full-scale investigation.
Putin lashed out against those criticisms on Monday, accusing others of exploiting the crash in east Ukraine for "mercenary objectives."
Putin said Russia was doing everything possible to allow a team of experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, to investigate the scene. He also again criticized the Ukraine authorities in Kiev for reigniting the fighting with the pro-Russian rebels who control the crash site.
"We can say with confidence that if fighting in eastern Ukraine had not been renewed on June 28, this tragedy would not have happened," Putin said. "Nobody should or does have a right to use this tragedy for such mercenary objectives."
That statement came in the wake of comments by the United States on Sunday, presenting what it called "powerful" evidence that the rebels shot down the plane with a Russian surface-to-air missile.
"Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists," Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN's 'State of the Union.'
Experts said that even if investigators are granted access now, it might be too late.
"Even without any deliberate attempt at a cover-up, the crash site is already compromised in forensic terms," said Keir Giles, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think tank. "A reconstruction of the aircraft fuselage and wings would give a picture on how the missile struck and what kind it was. If any aircraft parts have already been removed ... this compromises the objectivity of the investigation."