MH17 crash: International experts cancel visit to disaster site amid safety concerns

Fighting was said to have broken out between pro-Russia separatists and government troops

International experts planning to visit the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine have been forced to abandon their plans today, according to OSCE officials.

On-going fighting between pro-Russia separatists and government soldiers has reportedly rendered the trip too dangerous.

Alexander Hug, the deputy head of a monitoring team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said it would be too dangerous for the unarmed mission to travel to the area from its current location in the rebel-held city of Donetsk.

It was not immediately clear where precisely clashes had broken out.

According to the Associated Press, a dozen Dutch policemen in armored SUVs had been travelling to the scene of the disaster to secure the site, which investigators complain has already been compromised.

Rebel interference and security concerns have limited investigators' access to the site. International observers say there are still remains at the scene.

 

There were 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians and 37 Australians on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 when it was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. The separatists have been blamed by many in the international community for shooting down the plane.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Russian President Vladimir Putin faces a potential multi-million pound lawsuit for his alleged involvement in the disaster.

The newspaper reported that  British lawyers are preparing a class action against Putin via the American courts, which may also affect senior persons in the Russian military and politicians.

The families of victims will reportedly be invited to join the legal claim, which Western politicians have no power to prevent.

Malaysia said today that it would send police to the crash site after brokering a deal with separatists to allow international police personnel to provide protection for investigators.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement that he spoke with his counterparts from the Netherlands and Australia, and the three agreed to work together in deploying police personnel to the crash site.

Sixty-eight Malaysian police personnel will leave Kuala Lumpur for the crash site on Wednesday as part of the international deployment, the statement said.

Najib had reached an agreement with rebel leader Alexander Borodai last week to secure the handing over of the plane's black boxes and the remains of the victims, as well as to ensure safe access to the crash site.

In Sunday's statement, Najib said Boradai had “agreed to allow a deployment of international police personnel to enter the crash site.”

“So far, international air crash investigators have been unable to properly deploy across the vast crash site in eastern Ukraine and collect evidence due to on-going security concerns, including continued military activity,” the statement said.

These security concerns may be “preventing full and unfettered access to the site, and therefore a proper, independent investigation from being carried out,” it said, adding that “Malaysia is particularly concerned that some human remains may still be at the crash site.”

Australia said Sunday that it would send unarmed police to the crash site. Eleven Australian police will initially be sent Monday into the debris field, which covers 50 square kilometres (20 square miles), Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus said.

Additional reporting by agencies

Read more: Investigators discover more human remains
Parents of passenger Fatima Dyczynski arrive at Ukraine site
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all