Six coffins with MH17 remains flown out of Ukraine for the Netherlands

A picture taken on Nov 28 2014, shows flowers and stuffed animals layed outside the Van Oudheusdenkazerne military barracks in Hilversum. Six more coffins holding remains of the victims from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were on Friday fl
A picture taken on Nov 28 2014, shows flowers and stuffed animals layed outside the Van Oudheusdenkazerne military barracks in Hilversum. Six more coffins holding remains of the victims from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were on Friday flown out of east Ukraine for The Netherlands, officials said. -- PHOTO: AFP
Participants carry a coffin during a farewell ceremony as some of the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are loaded on to a transport plane before they head to the Netherlands, at Kharkiv airport on Nov 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTER
Participants carry a coffin during a farewell ceremony as some of the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are loaded on to a transport plane before they head to the Netherlands, at Kharkiv airport on Nov 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AFP) - Six more coffins holding remains of the victims from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were on Friday flown out of east Ukraine for The Netherlands, officials said.

Dutch and Ukrainian officials held a memorial ceremony at the airport in the city of Kharkiv for the last batch of human remains due to be transported this year.

"It was a very important ceremony, very important for the relatives, families and friends of the victims of this enormous tragedy," said Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.

The Boeing 777 was blown out of the sky on July 17 over rebel-held territory, killing all 298 people on board, including 193 citizens of The Netherlands.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of supplying pro-Kremlin insurgents with the missile that shot down the jet but Moscow and the separatists deny they were responsible and have instead pointed the finger at Kiev.

The Dutch-led probe team has so far identified 289 of the victims and is set to transport the wreckage of the plane by road to the Netherlands for further investigation.

Kharkhiv governor Igor Baluta said that the debris of the downed jet would be loaded onto trucks for transportation westwards Saturday and would depart from east Ukraine in the near future.

Recovery work at the crash site has now been halted for the winter but searches will resume again in March, Baluta said.