Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Fighting in Ukraine again stops investigators, says official

Published on Jul 30, 2014 6:31 PM
An armed pro-Russian separatist looks back next to a vehicle of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) monitoring mission in Ukraine, on the way to the site in eastern Ukraine where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, outside Donetsk, July 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Fighting between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists on Wednesday again prevented international investigators reaching the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site in Ukraine, the lead Dutch investigator said.

"There will be no convoy with Dutch experts travelling from Donetsk to the site where flight MH17 crashed. The situation along the route is too unsafe," lead investigator Pieter Jaap Aalbersberg said in a statement from the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

A reconnaissance team from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was stopped on its way to the site in eastern Ukraine in the morning, and warned of shots being fired on and around the route there.

“After considering alternative routes or negotiating with the separatists, the OSCE decided to turn back to Donetsk,” in rebel-controlled east Ukraine, said the statement.

“The security situation is being assessed on a continuous basis. We will keep trying to reach the crash site in the coming days, but the question is whether it will become any safer.”

The Dutch and Australian police mission needs access to the site to recover the remains of some of the 298 victims of the July 17 crash.

Over 200 bodies have already been recovered and sent to the Netherlands for identification. The Netherlands and Australia were home to most of the citizens on the flight, which the West alleges was brought down by separatist rebels.