Six coffins of MH17 remains flown out of Ukraine

Six coffins of MH17 remains flown out of Ukraine
Members of the Dutch export team watch as parts of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 are removed and loaded on a truck at the crash site near the village of Grabove in eastern Ukraine, on November 16 2014.

UKRAINE - Six more coffins holding remains of the victims from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were on Friday flown out of east Ukraine for The Netherlands, officials said.

Dutch and Ukrainian officials held a memorial ceremony at the airport in the city of Kharkiv for the last batch of human remains due to be transported this year.

"It was a very important ceremony, very important for the relatives, families and friends of the victims of this enormous tragedy," said Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.

The Boeing 777 was blown out of the sky on July 17 over rebel-held territory, killing all 298 people on board, including 193 citizens of The Netherlands.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of supplying pro-Kremlin insurgents with the missile that shot down the jet but Moscow and the separatists deny they were responsible and have instead pointed the finger at Kiev.

The Dutch-led probe team has so far identified 289 of the victims and is set to transport the wreckage of the plane by road to the Netherlands for further investigation.

Kharkhiv governor Igor Baluta said that the debris of the downed jet would be loaded onto trucks for transportation westwards Saturday and would depart from east Ukraine in the near future.

Recovery work at the crash site has now been halted for the winter but searches will resume again in March, Baluta said.

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