Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukraine rebels hand black boxes to Malaysia experts

Senior Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai (centre) speaks during a handover of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes to Colonel Mohamed Sakri (right) of the Malaysian National Security Council, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO:
Senior Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai (centre) speaks during a handover of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes to Colonel Mohamed Sakri (right) of the Malaysian National Security Council, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A pro-Russian separatist shows members of the media a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, before its handover to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A pro-Russian separatist shows members of the media a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, before its handover to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A representative (seated, left) from pro-Russian separatists and Colonel Mohamed Sakri (seated, right) of the Malaysian National Security Council sign documents after the handing over of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes, in Donetsk on July
A representative (seated, left) from pro-Russian separatists and Colonel Mohamed Sakri (seated, right) of the Malaysian National Security Council sign documents after the handing over of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the media take pictures as a pro-Russian separatist places black boxes belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on a desk, before their handover to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the media take pictures as a pro-Russian separatist places black boxes belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on a desk, before their handover to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the media take pictures of black boxes belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, before their handover from Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Members of the media take pictures of black boxes belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, before their handover from Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A representative (front, left) from pro-Russian separatists shakes hands with Colonel Mohamed Sakri (front right) of the Malaysian National Security Council after signing documents on the handing over of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes, i
A representative (front, left) from pro-Russian separatists shakes hands with Colonel Mohamed Sakri (front right) of the Malaysian National Security Council after signing documents on the handing over of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Malaysian expert (centre) examines a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during its handover from pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A Malaysian expert (centre) examines a black box belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during its handover from pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DONETSK, UKRAINE (REUTERS) - A senior separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, handed over black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts in the city of Donetsk in the early hours of Tuesday.

"Here they are, the black boxes," Borodai told a room packed with journalists at the headquarters of his self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic as an armed rebel placed the boxes on a desk.

Both sides then signed a document, which Borodai said was a protocol to finalise the procedure after lengthy talks with the Malaysians.

“I can see that the black boxes are intact, although a bit damaged. In good condition,” Colonel Mohamed Sakri of Malaysian National Security Council said in extending his thanks to “His Excellency Mr.Borodai” for passing on the recorders.

Borodai also said a train carrying the remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane catastrophe has reached Donetsk. It is on its way to Kharkiv, some 300km north-west. The Malaysian experts and a Dutch delegation also on site in Donetsk will travel along with it, he said.

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