MH17 Crash: Heavy shelling delays search

PETALING JAYA - The team of Malaysian policemen arrived safely at the MH17 crash site in Donetsk, Ukraine, to join the Dutch and Australian forces already there.

Confirming this, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the search and retrieval of evidence by the 21-man team was, however, delayed due to shelling taking place between separatists and the Ukrainian forces.

 "On their way to the crash site, the team, which was heavily guarded by authorities, saw that there was a lot of destruction," he said.

"For their own safety, the separatists have not allowed the team to begin their search. The team is taking cover at an area by the roadside near the location," he said.

"The team, headed by Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, would wait until the situation was safer and more stable," said Dr Ahmad Zahid, adding that the team, however, managed to search an area of 6sq km.

Earlier, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said over Twitter that it encountered trouble in accessing the crash site again.

"International experts, Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMMU) monitors, have arrived in the region of MH17 crash site but are remaining stationary pending further security assessments," it said, adding that there were eight monitors as well as 100 experts and detector dogs.

According to a Dutch government statement, 70 police investigators were searching the various areas around the crash site.

In the latest round of finger pointing, the Russian Federation claimed that Ukrainian forces, including reservists manning the BUK-M1 anti-aircraft system, might have launched the missile during drills which went awry on July 17.

"Low level of competence could have led to the situation and the unauthorised launch of a rocket," said the Russia Embassy here. "The possibility of hitting the aircraft in this case was almost 100 per cent," it said, adding that training to operate the system took six months for privates and three years for officers.



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