THE HAGUE - The first bodies from the MH17 crash in Ukraine will be flown on Wednesday to the Netherlands, where their identification could take months, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
"Tomorrow the first plane (with bodies) will leave for Eindhoven," in the southern Netherlands, Rutte told journalists after the bodies arrived in Ukraine's Kharkiv from rebel-held territory.
"Preparations will be made in Kharkiv so that identification can be done in the Netherlands as well as possible," Rutte said.
"As soon as a victim is identified first and foremost the family will be informed and no one else. That can take weeks or months." Of the 298 people killed when the flight MH17 was brought down over Ukraine, allegedly by a missile fired by pro-Russia rebels, 193 are Dutch, and the Netherlands is in charge of their identification.
"As soon as some victims are ready to be transported, the plane will leave," Rutte said, confirming that all the bodies would be brought to the Netherlands and then flown on to their respective countries.
Once arrived at Eindhoven, the bodies will be taken to the Kaporaal van Oudheusden military barracks in Hilversum, around 100 kilometres (65 miles) away.