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OSCE Monitors say access to Ukraine crash site improving

Deputy head of the OSCE mission to Ukraine, Switzerland's Alexander Hug, (background centre), accompanied by members of Netherlands' National Forensic Investigations Team guarded by armed pro-Russian fighters

(Keystone)

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) says international monitors have been able to work nearly unhindered at the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine.

“[The Special Monitoring Mission SMM] was given full access to the main crash site, which was on this occasion properly cordoned off,” a statement by the Swiss-led organisation on Monday said.

SSM spokesman Michael Bociurkiw reportedly said small signs of progress had been noticeable since Sunday. The international community repeatedly demanded swift access to the crash site and an impartial investigation.

“We were able to spend quite a bit of time out at the different crash sites,” he told journalists in the town of Grabove.

However, he added it was far from a well-organised investigation scene. It has remained under control of pro-Russian rebels in the area.

Expert teams

Meanwhile, OSCE representatives accompanied Dutch forensics experts who made a preliminary inspection of the cold storage railway carriages where the bodies of the crash victims are stored. Their remains were taken to northeastern city of Kharkiv to be transported to the Netherlands for identification.

A 31-strong international team of crash experts from the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Britain is currently waiting in Karkhiv.

A Swiss advance unit is in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, to prepare for a possible deployment of Swiss forensics specialists. The Federal Justice Office said Switzerland was waiting for the green light from the Ukrainian authorities to participate in the operations.

The Malaysia Airlines flight crashed near Donetsk last Thursday killing 298 people on board.

Washington has accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting down the plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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