International police team to safeguard agents at MH17 crash site

International police team to safeguard agents at MH17 crash site
In loving memory: Flowers and a teddy bear, left by the parents of an Australian victim of the crash, lying on a piece of the MH17 wreckage, near the village of Grabovo in Donetsk.

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia has secured an agreement with Ukrainian rebels to allow an international police team to protect aircraft crash investigators at the MH17 site.

Pro-Russian separatist leader Alexander Borodai yesterday agreed to the move following discussions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"Pursuant to the earlier agreement, Borodai has agreed to allow the international police personnel to enter the crash site," said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

Under the initial agreement, the rebels promised to hand over the black boxes to Malaysia, send the human remains to international officials and grant full access to the site.

However, investigators could not properly operate across the vast crash site in eastern Ukraine or collect evidence due to ongoing fighting between Kiev and the rebels.

Malaysia had called for an immediate cessation of all military activities in and around the crash site.

Earlier yesterday, Najib said he was deeply concerned over the volatile security situation.

"It is imperative that we deploy a full team of investigators to ensure that all the human remains are removed from the site, identified and repatriated.

"Everyone who was on board MH17 must be accorded proper dignity and respect," he said.

Najib also spoke to the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Australia.

"Three grieving nations have formed a coalition to secure the site. Through our joint deployment of police personnel, we will work together to achieve justice for the victims," he said.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had been in contact with the Ukrainian government on the legal and diplomatic framework for the deployment.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had been working closely with the head of the investigation in the Netherlands.

On Wednesday, 68 Malaysian policemen will leave Kuala Lumpur for the crash site as part of the international deployment.

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