THE HAGUE (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday promised Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte he will help retrieve bodies and black boxes from the Ukrainian rebel-held crash site of flight MH17.
Mr Putin, who is believed to exert influence on the pro-Russia rebels, made the promise in his third conversation with Mr Rutte since Thursday's crash, the Dutch government press service RVD said, amid growing international anger over the stranded bodies.
"Besides allowing unrestricted access to the crash site, the conversation focused on practical matters, namely the departure of the train that has many bodies and the handing over of the black boxes," a spokeswoman for the government press service RVD told AFP, asking not to be named.
"On both points Putin promised his full cooperation," the spokesman said. Most of the 298 people on the Malaysia Airways flight, likely brought down by a pro-Russian rebel missile, were Dutch.
Around 200 bodies taken from the site in eastern Ukraine are being held in refrigerated trains nearby, pending the arrival of international investigators.
Ukrainian rebels have said that they have the black boxes, crucial in the crash investigation.