Malaysia strikes deal with Ukraine rebels to allow police at MH17 site

This image grab taken from an AFP TV video shows the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Borodai (C) posing with Colonel Mohamed Sakri of the Malaysian National Security Council (2ndR) during the handing over to Malaysia of the two black boxes recovered from the crash site of the MH17 jet, at a press conference in Donetsk on July 22, 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia said Sunday it had secured an agreement with Ukrainian rebels to allow international police personnel to enter the crash site of downed flight MH17.

Police would be allowed to enter the area in strife-torn eastern Ukraine "to provide protection for international crash investigators", Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's office said in a statement.

Malaysia said that Alexander Borodai, the leader of the separatist forces and prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, agreed Sunday to allow the police deployment.

"I am deeply concerned that international investigators have been unable to properly deploy to the crash site because of the volatile security situation," Najib said in the statement.

"I hope that this agreement with Mr Borodai will ensure security on the ground, so the international investigators can conduct their work." The statement added Malaysia would work "closely together" with the Netherlands and Australia to deploy the police personnel with details still being discussed.

Sixty-eight Malaysian police personnel will leave Kuala Lumpur for the crash site on Wednesday, it added.

The Malaysia Airlines plane, carrying 298 people, went down over eastern Ukraine on July 17. It is believed to have been shot down by a missile. Most of the passengers on board were Dutch.

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