The first international investigators have arrived in eastern Ukraine to assess the aftermath of the Malaysian plane crash. The Dutch forensic experts have seen the train carrying the remains of the victims and will view the crash site later on Monday.
Three members of the Dutch Disaster Victims Identification team visited the city of Torez where some of the bodies of those that died in the Malaysian plane crash have been loaded on to a refrigerated train. The destination of the train, which is being guarded by rebel fighters from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, remains unknown.
— Roman Kosarev (@ReportnRoman) July 21, 2014
So far 272 out of 298 bodies have been recovered at the site of the Malaysian Boeing crash, 251 are currently in refrigerated train cars at Torez Station.
The head of the Dutch team, Peter van Vliet, inspected the bodies that were being stored in rail cars.
“The storage of the bodies is of good quality," van Vliet told Reuters, as his team went through the train carriages in masks and rubber gloves checking the bodies. He added that they had been told the bodies would be taken to a place where they would be identified and repatriated.
The team will visit the crash site later on Monday in an attempt to discern the possible causes behind the tragedy.
There is also a team of Ukraine forensic experts working in the
area, but the arrival of the Dutch specialists marks the
appearance of the first international experts to visit the scene.
A team of 12 inspectors from Malaysia were also due in Torez on Monday, but their arrival has been delayed by fighting in the area, the Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Boroday told Interfax.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a full-scale, international investigation into the tragedy on Sunday.
“There are already representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk working there, as well as representatives of the emergencies ministry of Ukraine and others. But this is not enough,” Putin said, commenting on the plane crash.
Putin said that the international inspectors should be provided
with security while they carry out the probe into the causes of
the aerial disaster. He also stressed that the tragedy should not
be used as an excuse to further politicize the situation in
“We repeatedly called upon all conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed immediately and sit down at the negotiating table,” the president said. “I can say with confidence that if military operations were not resumed on June 28 in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened.”
The Ukrainian Army is currently engaged in an ‘anti-terror’ operation in eastern Ukraine in an effort to crush rebel fighters who oppose the country’s government. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in Kiev that he has ordered troops to stop all military activities within a 40km radius of the crash site.