MH17 plane crash: Dutch experts examine bodies

The three Dutch experts said the train might leave the town of Torez later.

All 298 people on board flight MH17 died when it crashed over the rebel-held area on 17 July. The US and other nations say there is growing evidence of Russian complicity in the crash.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting is reported in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk.

The clashes – involving heavy weapons – are continuing near the city’s airport and the railway station, eyewitnesses say.

At least three civilians were reported killed, and one multi-storey building was seen on fire.

Residents are fleeing the city, report BBC correspondents on the ground.

Ukrainian officials say 272 bodies have so far been found

Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk has proposed that the Netherlands should lead an international investigation

A separate group of 31 international investigators is now in the eastern city of Kharkiv. They are expected to proceed closer to the crash site shortly

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered government forces to halt fire in a 40km (24 miles) area around the crash site

Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is essential to give international experts complete security so they can conduct an independent investigation

The experts from the Dutch Disaster Victims Identification team are the first international investigators to arrive in the region where the Boeing 777 went down.

Monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been at the accident site, but their access to the wreckage has been limited by the rebels.

On Monday, the Dutch experts examined some of the 196 bodies kept in refrigerator wagons in Torez, some 15km away from the crash site.

“I think the storage of the bodies is of good quality,” Dutch team leader Peter van Leit said after the inspection.

The Dutch experts also later visited the crash site.

Pressure has been steadily growing on pro-Russian rebels to allow experts access to the area.

Flight MH17 crashed when it was reportedly hit by a missile.

Russia has been accused of providing the rebels with an anti-aircraft system that was allegedly used in the attack. It denies the allegations.

Russia’s press fears MH17 will shape future diplomacy. “The situation surrounding the Malaysian Boeing 777 shot down over Ukraine is becoming a key factor in world politics,” says business daily Kommersant.

But Russian liberal thrice-weekly Novaya Gazeta diverts from the party line today: “There is practically no doubt that the airliner was shot down by the separatists,” it declares.

Ukraine’s press continues to accuse Moscow. Popular tabloid Segodnya leads with “Ukraine has enough evidence of Russia’s guilt”.

Russian and Ukraine press agree on the further souring of relations. Business daily Capital says: “The downing of the airliner in Donbas turns the regional conflict into an international one. Peace will not come soon.”

Dutch PM Mark Rutte said all political and economic options were on the table if access to the crash site remained unsatisfactory

Australian FM Julie Bishop called on pro-Russian separatists not to use the bodies as pawns in their conflict with the Ukrainian authorities

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US had seen major military supplies moving into Ukraine from Russia in the last month, including a convoy of armoured personnel carriers, tanks and rocket launchers

British PM David Cameron said Europe and the West “must fundamentally change our approach to Russia” if Mr Putin “does not change his approach to Ukraine”.

The rebels have said they will hand over MH17’s flight recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), but the US state department said rebels had tampered with other potential evidence.

Heavy machinery could be seen moving plane debris at the crash site on Sunday.

A Malaysian team of 133 officials and experts, comprising of search and recovery personnel, forensics experts, technical and medical experts has arrived in Ukraine. A separate UK group of air accident investigators is also there.

But the government in Kiev says it has been unable to establish a safe corridor to the crash site.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine erupted in April and is believed to have claimed more than 1,000 lives.

The passenger list released by Malaysia Airlines shows the plane was carrying 193 Dutch nationals, including one with dual US nationality.

Other victims included 43 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 10 Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one from both Canada and New Zealand.



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