TOREZ, Ukraine: With Russian support, the UN Security Council voted unanimously yesterday for an international investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, as the bodies of victims finally began their journey to Amsterdam.
The resolution also calls for a halt to all military activities around the site and for Russian-backed separatists to allow international investigators complete access to the crash site.
The UN action came after four refrigerated rail cars carrying the bodies of 282 of the 298 victims left for the city of Kharkiv, controlled by the Ukraine national government, en route to Amsterdam.
Earlier yesterday, Dutch investigators were finally allowed to inspect the remains.
A train carrying the remains left the site after the Malaysian Prime Minister reached a deal with the leader of pro-Russian separatists controlling the area.
The aircraft’s black boxes, which could hold information about the crash in rebel-held eastern Ukraine but will not pinpoint who did it, would be given to the Malaysian authorities, Prime Minister Najib Razak said, indicating he had bypassed Kiev, which has lost control of much of the east.
The expected handover of the bodies and the black boxes, and reports by international investigators of improved access to the wreckage of the airliner four days after it was shot down, takes place against calls for broader sanctions against Russia for its support for the rebellion, though Western leaders are struggling to agree a united response.
The Malaysian leader said he had reached an agreement with the separatists for recovered bodies to be handed over to the authorities in the Netherlands, where the largest number of victims came from.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a news conference that a train carrying around 200 body bags was on its way to rebel-held Donetsk and then to Kharkiv, which is in Ukrainian government hands, from where the bodies would be taken back to the Netherlands to be identified.
The shooting down of the airliner on Thursday sharply deepened the Ukrainian crisis, in which separatist gunmen in the Russian-speaking east have been fighting government forces since pro-Western protesters in Kiev forced out a pro-Moscow president and Russia annexed Crimea in March.Reuters