MH17 bodies to be flown out

MH17 bodies to be flown out

Dutch forensic experts yesterday 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.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said yesterday that the Netherlands should head up the investigation into downed flight MH17 and that Kiev was ready to "send all bodies to Amsterdam".

"We are ready for the Netherlands to take upon itself the coordination of the international investigation as the country that suffered the most," Yatsenyuk said.

The remains of some 250 victims are currently in train wagons under rebel guard close to the crash site, which is also controlled by insurgent fighters.

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 yesterday.

In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the priority is to move the bodies to Kiev-controlled territory.

"The first aim is to get the trains out and let them go to Ukrainian-controlled territory, preferably Kharkiv," Rutte said, referring to a major city some 300 kilometres away which has remained firmly in Kiev's hands.

"The separatists have said that international observers must be present when the train leaves... the Dutch experts are international observers... they can fulfil that role," the Dutch PM added. "We want our people back."

The UN Security Council was expected yesterday 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 open access to the site.

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

After speaking with Putin, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott noted he had "said all the right things", but added 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 [Putin] to his word," Abbott said, as concerns rose over tampering with evidence including the victims' remains and the plane's black boxes.

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 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.

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