MH17: Train carrying 282 bodies arrives in Kharkiv as Russian separatists hand over black boxes from downed jet

The train left Donetsk early Monday morning but was delayed due to technical difficulties it experienced during the journey

The train carrying 282 bodies of people killed in the downing of Flight MH17 last week has arrived in Kharkiv.

Five refrigerated carriages containing the remains of those killed when their plane was hit by a rocket while flying over south-eastern Ukraine, rolled into the Ukrainian government-held city at around 2pm local time today.

The train that set off from rebel-held Donetsk at midnight on Tuesday morning was scheduled to arrive in Kharkiv at midday today but was delayed after technical difficulties .

It is now expected that the bodies will be taken to Malyshev tank factory and then taken away by representatives from the victims' home countries.

Representatives from the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia - which lost 193, 27 and 42 citizens respectively - are all in Kharkiv awaiting the bodies.

The body parts of an additional 16 victims are also said to have been recovered.

A decision on the transportation of the bodies to be made later today, but it is expected that the bodies of the Dutch victims will be taken to Hilversum, in the Netherlands, for identification - a process which could take months, the country's Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, warned.

Video: Ukrainian rebels say they are giving boxes to 'experts'

The Black box

Last night saw pro-rebel forces hand over MH17's black box to Malaysian officials.

With negotiations between the so-called Donetsk’s People’s Republic and Malaysian officials lasting 12 hours, the group’s leader, Alexander Borodai eventually decided to hand over the boxes to Malaysian National Security Council leader, Colonel Mohamed Sakri, at a packed press conference in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In front of cameras and the expectant press Borodai placed the two ‘black boxes’, which were actually orange, on the desk for the Malaysian delegation to take away and investigate.

The leader, who took over as the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic in May, used the opportunity to once again to deny that it was rebel armed forces that were responsible for downing the plane, claiming that they did not have the “technical ability” nor “the motive” to be capable of bringing down the plane.

The decision to give away the box followed a conversation between Borodai and Malaysian Prime minister Najib Razak.

At the conference, the Malaysian delegation leader, Sakri, took the opportunity to thank Borodai, reporting that the black boxes looked in “good condition”.


He said: “I can see that the black box is intact even though a little bit damaged, but in a good condition.”

Sakri refused to answer questions on who he believed was responsible for the tragedy that saw 189 Dutch nationals, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, (including 15 crew) and 10 Britons killed.

The decision by pro-Russian separatists to hand over the black boxes follows almost four days of calls by the international community for the pro-Russian separatists to hand over the black boxes and allow a full scale investigation into the downing of MH17 to take place.  

Calls from world leaders have urged the rebels in control of the site to give them access hand over the flight recorders and allow investigators access to the site.

President Barack Obama accused the rebels of tampering with evidence and insulting victims' families and warned of new sanctions.

In an article in the Sunday Times, David Cameron supported Obama, saying that Russia could face sanctions if it did not use its influence over separatists to ensure a proper investigation could take place.

Video: The European response to MH17 crash
Read more:
Ukrainian military jet 'was flying close to passenger plane'
Malaysia Airlines 'to file for bankruptcy'
Donations flood in to victim charity

Europeans will consider sanctions at a meeting on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Ukranian forces reported that they had telephone recordings that allegedly proved pro-Russian separatists troops had been ordered to conduct a search for the two flight recording boxes so that they could be handed to Russian officials before being released to the international investigators.

The rebels denied that these recordings were genuine.

On Monday, Russia's Defence Ministry said it saw no evidence a missile was fired and denied involvement in the downing of Flight 17 — and suggested the Ukrainian military was at fault.

President Vladimir Putin spoke out but showed no sign of abandoning the separatists as fighting flared anew near the site of the crash.

Four days since the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, pro-Moscow separatists have finally agreed to release the aeroplane’s flight recorder to Malaysian officials, as the bodies of 192 victims embarked on a train journey away from the flight's wreckage site to the Ukranian city of Kharkiv.

International forensics experts finally gained access to the crash site on Monday — an emotional experience for the head of the Dutch National Forensic Investigations Team, Peter Van Vliet. Seeing the wreckage gave him goosebumps, he said.

The team of international observers also reported strange behaviour by workers at the sprawling crash site.

As investigations continued, Tuesday morning saw the refrigerated train carriages carrying the bodies of some 198 victims begin their journey to the city of Kharkiv.

Additional Reporting AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own