Dutch to collect more remains from MH17 Ukraine crash

A sign near the MH17 crash site in Ukraine in December reads "No entrance! There may be remains of the victims of flight MH17 crash at the territory". When snow and frost abate and the security situation permits, experts will again return to the site
A sign near the MH17 crash site in Ukraine in December reads "No entrance! There may be remains of the victims of flight MH17 crash at the territory". When snow and frost abate and the security situation permits, experts will again return to the site to search for more "possible" human remains. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (AFP) - A Dutch team is to return to the MH17 crash site in war-torn Ukraine to collect more remains of the 298 people killed when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing plane crashed in July, officials said Friday.

"A small team including defence ministry employees will return to Kharkiv in Ukraine at the end of next week," the Dutch security and justice ministry said in a statement.

Most of those on board the Boeing 777 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 were Dutch, and just three of the dead have yet to be identified by forensics experts in the Netherlands.

"If the security situation permits the team will also return to the crash site to collect a small amount of human remains," the ministry said.

Kiev and the West have claimed that the airliner was shot down in the conflict-torn area by separatist fighters using a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia.

Moscow denies the charges, pointing the finger at Kiev.

Dutch experts last year repatriated parts of the plane to be reconstructed as part of a probe into what caused the crash.

When snow and frost abate and the security situation permits, experts will again return to the site to search for more "possible" human remains, the ministry said.

The Netherlands have also kept a small permanent team in Kharkiv over the last months.

The team will also head back to the Netherlands "because winter has made work impossible," ministry spokesman Jean Fransman told AFP.