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Donetsk militia put MH17 bodies on train amidst concerns over intl experts’ absence

Published time: July 20, 2014 12:47
Edited time: September 06, 2014 13:17

Members of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry transport a body at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.(Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev )

The bodies of 196 MH17 crash victims have been placed inside refrigerated train carriages, according to the leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who also wonders why international experts are still not at the crash scene.

World mourns MH17 crash victims as body recovery continues

At least three refrigerated train carriages with bodies of those killed in the MH17 plane crash have departed from the town of Torez, near the site of the crash, to the town of Ilovaysk and are on their way to Donetsk.

Alternative reports suggest the train is still in Torez and the decision on where it will go depends on what authorities in Kiev say.

"So far, I do not know where they plan to take them," Sergey Kavtaradze, an official representative of the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) told the Russian News Service.

AP video still

The carriages at the Torez station were reportedly examined by the OSCE observers, who said there were 196 bodies inside.

That has not been confirmed by Alexander Hug, deputy chief monitor of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, who said his team had actually seen body bags in the train carriages but were unable to count them, Reuters reports.

The bodies were lying in the heat for several days and have begun to decompose. By now special equipment is needed to deal with them.

The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has been accusing the international community of taking too much time to send international experts to the crash site.

Video: /files/news/2a/87/80/00/1851568_ukr_train_in_torez_480p.mp4

We’ve been inviting them for three days, but so far no one has come except for four experts from Ukraine,” Kavtaradze told RT on Sunday.

A day earlier DPR’s PM, Aleksandr Boroday, accused the international community of lacking enthusiasm to investigate the plane crash.

Several dozen experts are currently in Kiev,” he said. “Can they please come here faster? We are surprised and frankly angered that we have to keep the area untouched while we are waiting for them for so long.”

Investigators from the UN aviation agency, ICAO, have arrived in Ukraine to help probe the crash, but cannot reach the site because of safety concerns, a senior agency source told Reuters on Sunday. The two investigators who were in the country could not reach the site of the tragedy or examine the plane's flight recorders, according to an unnamed official.

Nobody has been allowed to have access to the site for that purpose,” the source is cited as saying. “Until safe passage for them is assured we don't send people into that kind of situation.”

The international community has been accusing the anti-Kiev forces on the ground of mishandling bodies and evidence at the crash site.

The Dutch foreign minister said his country was "furious" to hear bodies were being "dragged around." Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the crash site in the territory controlled by anti-Kiev forces as "absolutely chaotic."

Boroday explained all of the actions undertaken at the site of the crash were dictated by urgent humanitarian need to take care of the decomposing bodies.

The government of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) once again said it was waiting for the international experts to come and said it guaranteed their security, but wanted the Kiev authorities to agree to a ceasefire in turn, according to statement by DPR’s deputy PM, Andrey Purgin.

"We declare that we guarantee security of international experts at the site of the tragedy if Kiev agrees to a ceasefire,” the statement reads as cited by RIA Novosti. “We call on Kiev to immediately sign this agreement with DPR at least for the period of time while experts are going to work at the site of the plane crash.”

Meanwhile, foreign journalists managed to get to a station where a train with the dead bodies stood. Their tweets from the site made many internet users wonder why journalists were able to make it to the crash scene, but experts could not.

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