الجمعة , يونيو 12 2020

Dutch and Australians in MH17 talks

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 came down in Ukraine

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The BBC’s Fergal Keane at the crash site on Thursday morning: “When we arrived, there were no guards”

The Netherlands and Australia are seeking access to the crash site of MH17 in eastern Ukraine, as more planes with victims’ bodies are flown out.

Foreign ministers from both countries are attending a ceremony marking the departure in the city of Kharkiv.

They are negotiating with Ukrainian officials in Kiev to send police to the site which is controlled by pro-Russia rebels amid continuing fighting.

Rebels have been accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane.

All 298 people on board the flight died in the crash on 17 July, including 193 Dutch citizens, 43 Malaysians and 27 Australians.

About 200 bodies were recovered and transported to Kharkiv, which is outside rebel territory.

‘Bring them home’

The first coffins carrying victims of the crash arrived by plane in the Netherlands on Wednesday for forensic identification.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday that he would send 40 unarmed military police to east Ukraine to investigate the crash and seek the remaining victims’ bodies.



Mark Rutte

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “I am extremely motivated to find [those responsible] and as soon as we do, they won’t escape justice”

He vowed to bring those responsible for the crash “to justice” and said: “We want to bring back everybody, bring home everybody.”

On Friday, Australian leader Tony Abbott said an additional 100 police would be deployed to Europe, joining 90 officers in London awaiting permission to enter and secure the crash site.

He described it as “a humanitarian mission with a clear and simple objective to bring them home”.

The Dutch and Australian Foreign Ministers, Frans Timmermans and Julie Bishop, are in talks with the Ukrainian government to discuss access to the crash site.

Dutch investigators have faced difficulties gaining access to the rebel-controlled crash site in eastern Ukraine, amid continuing fighting there.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (left) speaks during a joint press conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans following a meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, 24 July 2014The Australian and Dutch foreign ministers are in Ukraine to discuss securing access to the crash site

With remains still being found one week on, experts warn it could be months before all victims are identified.

On Thursday, the US said it had evidence that Russia fired artillery across the border targeting Ukrainian military positions.

Russia also intended “to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers” to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the state department said.

Russia has frequently denied sending any rocket launchers into Ukraine.

Details of further EU sanctions on Russia over its role in supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, are expected to come to light on Friday.



BBC correspondent Natalia Antelava surrounded by empty shops in Donetsk

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Ukraine’s “dead” city: The BBC’s Natalia Antelava speaks to civilians in Donetsk

The US says it believes that rebels shot down flight MH17 with a Russian-provided SA-11 Buk surface-to-air missile, probably by mistake.

Leading rebels in eastern Ukraine have given conflicting accounts of whether they had control of a Buk launcher at the time the plane was downed.

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

Ukrainian government forces say they have retaken the city of Lysychansk in Luhansk from rebels.

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