• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:13am
Malaysia Airlines flight 17

Dutch forensic experts begin examining MH71 bodies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 July, 2014, 5:09pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 6:43pm

Dutch forensic experts on Monday began examining the bodies from the MH17 plane disaster, as world leaders denounced the “shambolic” state of the crash site left in the hands of pro-Russian rebels.

Kiev’s prime minister said the remains of some 250 victims of the 298 killed when the flight went down last week, apparently shot by a surface-to-air missile, had been recovered and moved to train cars, and could be transferred to the Netherlands.

But the bodies are in rebel-held territory where Kiev holds no sway, near the city of Donetsk where intense shelling broke out again on Monday.

The UN Security Council is expected on Monday to adopt an Australia-backed resolution demanding that pro-Russian separatists grant unrestricted access to the crash site for international experts.

Patience was wearing thin over Moscow’s stance, even as President Vladimir  Putin pledged Russia would do “everything in its power” to resolve the Ukrainian conflict and to open access to the site.

The under-fire Russian leader appeared to seek to temper world fury after Washington said it had overwhelming evidence the missile system used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines jet was transferred from Russia to the rebels.

Watch: Rebels move bodies from MH17 site as world urges probe

After speaking with Putin, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott noted he had “said all the right things” but that he would “hold the president to his word”.

“That is certainly my intention, and it should be the intention of the family of nations to hold the president to his word,” Abbott said, as concerns rose over tampering with evidence including the victims’ remains and the plane’s black boxes.

Twenty-eight Australian nationals and nine residents were among the passengers from a dozen countries on the doomed flight.

At the Torez station, close to Donetsk, an AFP reporter witnessed the Dutch investigators, wearing masks and headlights, open each of the train wagons holding the remains of recovered bodies, amid an overpowering stench.

Even as Putin pledged to work toward dialogue between the Ukrainian rivals, intense shelling rained down in the rebel stronghold Donetsk, just 60 kilometres from Torez where the bodies are being held.

Insurgent fighters had closed off the roads in the area on the edge of the city and terrified civilians were fleeing the fighting in minibuses and on foot.

A rebel fighter told AFP that government troops had attacked their positions close to the transport hub at around 10 am (0700 GMT).

“They came within about two kilometres of the station,” insurgent gunman Volodya told AFP.

Even as Dutch teams were inspecting the bodies, international investigators have yet to gain access to the actual crash site in Grabove, with debris spread out for kilometres.
“As anyone who has been watching the footage will know, this is still an absolutely shambolic situation,” Australia’s Abbott said.

Malaysia’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai has also expressed concerns that “the sanctity of the crash site has been severely compromised”.

Only a team of conflict monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were allowed briefly to access the main crash site.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has slammed as “grotesque” the manner in which “drunken separatist soldiers” were allegedly “unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies, as well as evidence, from the site”.

Insurgents defended their actions, with a rebel chief saying they had moved scores of bodies “out of respect for the families”.

Washington has pointedly blamed Moscow for supplying rebel with the missile system used to shoot down the passenger jet.

Kiev on Sunday released fresh recordings of what it says are intercepted conversations between rebels organising to hide the flight’s black boxes from international monitors.

And the US embassy confirmed as authentic recordings released by Kiev of an intercepted call between an insurgent commander and a Russian intelligence officer as they realised they had shot down a passenger jet.

The Washington Post said Ukraine’s counterintelligence chief had photographs and related evidence that three Buk M-1 anti-aircraft missile systems moved from rebel-held territory into Russia less than 12 hours after the crash.

However, top Russian officials and state media have suggested that Kiev’s new leaders staged the attack to blame the rebels.

The UN Security Council votes at 1900 GMT on Monday on a resolution demanding that armed groups controlling the area “refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site... and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the site and surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities.”

The leaders of France, Britain and Germany also signalled they could ramp up sanctions against Russia as early as Tuesday - barely a week after the last round of toughened embargoes.

The separatists’ violent bid to join Russia is the latest chapter in a prolonged crisis sparked by Kiev’s desire for closer ties with the EU - a sentiment many in the Russian-speaking east do not share.


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This article is now closed to comments

No not the CIA or Blackwater. It was the Easter bunny, which is much more believable.
Ukraine, Separatist rebels have to scavenge and search for anything from salvageable materials, refuse and decaying matter and take them away to prevent any usable evidence from reaching the hands of forensic expert that can establish validity that plane was destroy by a missile projectile where its origin and perpetrators can be determined after a thorough investigation.
On Sunday heavy machinery was moving parts of the plane around on the crash site- clearly contaminating the crime scene.
Absolutely sickening by these Russian clowns.
The fact that the terrorists/pro-Russian separatists are denying access to the crime scene tells the world exactly who is responsible for this crime- Putin and his forces in Ukraine.
mh0908, come on, there are conspiracy theories that are far more likely than those you suggest- the illuminati did it OR MH17 was really MH370.
As for the rubbish that you post that comes from Russia (hello, they did it so of course they gotta suggest something else):
1. One of Russia's state-run news outlets has stated that Putin's plane has not flown over Ukraine since the start of the conflict there.
2. And Carlos the air controller- well, according to the Spanish embassy he doesn't exist.
Of course, you are going to keep on spouting your theories. No need to let reality get in the way of misinformation, is there!
If you mean a train that has to stop at an armed checkpoint and can't get to the crash site until the man with the gun says so, then yes. They are on a train somewhere in South Africa.
This AFP wire states clearly Kiev is still fighting the separtists amid the horrific tragedy.
Why can't Kiev cease fire to allow workers to retrieve the bodies and fuselage? Why didn't SCMP carry this important story instead of constantly barraging us with US and Western propaganda?
Kiev cruelly and ruthlessly printed the picture of the charred body of a baby on the front page of its govt controlled paper just the next day after. How they got access to that picture is questionable since it was supposed to be separatist territory.
Kiev might be the one behind this - they and their backers stand to benefit the most in the wake of this terrible disaster. They have put Putin in a corner now with all the accusations. Using the baby's picture as part of their propaganda shows what kind of animal Kiev really is.
CIA did this. Black water was behind this.
Many will remember Korean Air 007 and Iran Air 655 but most have never read the actual reports with actual transcripts that only came out many years after the incidences. Many call this the New Great Game but this is Cold War II to me.



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