Malaysian experts to join probe at MH17 crash site

KIEV - Malaysian experts were to visit the site of the downed flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine for the first time on Monday, joining Dutch and Australian police as they continued combing the area for remains.

"This is the first day that the Malaysians are joining the team," the Dutch security and justice ministry said in a statement, without giving any details about how many experts would be on the ground.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has been monitoring the situation in Ukraine, tweeted however that the mission again had trouble accessing the site.

"International experts... have arrived in region of MH17 crash site but are remaining stationary pending further security assessments," it said.

The OSCE had said earlier its monitors were to visit the site "with 100+ experts and detector dogs".

"Long day ahead intensive work focused on recovery victim remains," it added.

Experts have been combing the rebel-controlled site in their effort to recover the remains and belongings of the 298 passengers and crew killed when the Malaysia Airlines jet - flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur - was blown out of the sky on July 17.

But the probe has been repeatedly delayed because of continued fighting in the region between government forces and pro-Moscow separatist fighters.

The United States says insurgents shot down the plane with a surface-to-air missile likely supplied by Russia but Moscow and the rebels blame the Ukrainian military.

So far, some 220 coffins have been flown back the Netherlands - which suffered the most casualties in the crash - for the painstaking identification process.

Another plane carrying remains found over the past few days was set to fly from the government-held city of Kharkiv to the Netherlands on Monday afternoon.

"We expect that there will be more flights to the Netherlands in the near future," Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the Dutch police mission, said Sunday.