THE HAGUE (AFP) - Dutch investigators expect to begin recovering wreckage from the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine "within a few days" and bring it to the Netherlands, the Dutch Safety Board said on Thursday.
"Agreements have been made about a plan to make it possible to recover the wreckage and hand it over to the Dutch Safety Board," the agency said in a statement.
"The Safety Board expects that it will be possible to start the recovery operation within a few days," it added.
The Netherlands is leading a probe into the downing of Flight MH17 on July 17 which killed all 298 on board, including 193 Dutch nationals.
Kiev and the West have claimed that the Boeing 777 was shot down in the conflict-torn area by separatist fighters using a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia, but Moscow strongly denies the charges, pointing the finger back at Kiev.
So far, 289 victims had been identified through body parts recovered from the site, but no wreckage has been retrieved due to safety issues.
Air crash investigators now "intend to reconstruct a section of the aircraft" which they hope will provide more clarity into the accident's cause.
An initial report issued in September by Dutch investigators found MH17 was hit by multiple "high-energy" objects, apparently backing up the missile theory.
The report did not apportion blame.
The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused by the West of creating the conditions for the disaster through its support of the rebels. Russia has denied the allegations.