Malaysiakini News

Confusion over 'seizure' of MH17 bodies

Published:  |  Modified:

MH17 Confusion reigns over the removal of at least 167 bodies from the crash sight of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at Grabovo, eastern Ukraine.

Earlier reports by the Associated Press (AP), quoting Ukraine's Emergency Ministry states that pro-Russia separatists "forced" emergency workers to give the bodies to them.

However, German news agency DPA quotes Ukranian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman as saying that Ukraine and the separatists have agreed to store the bodies in refrigerated train coaches.

Groisman reportedly said that the bodies will be moved to a laboratory in Kharkiv, an area held by the government.

However, AP earlier reported that all 196 bodies found were heading to Ilovaysk, a separatist-held area.

Separatist Alexander Borodai, in another AP report, on the other hand deny that separatists had tampered with the bodies.

He also said the bodies will remain in the refrigerated coaches at the Torez station until 12 Malaysian experts arrive.

Meanwhile, the Organisation of Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE)'s special monitoring mission to Ukraine report that the bodies were placed in trains at the Torez station.

Heavily-armed fighters

Spokesperson Michael Bociurkiw is quoted by the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre as saying that only 167 bodies were placed in the trains but he cannot verify if they were from the crash sites.

"He said, based on conversations with the terrorists, the cars will remain waiting until the arrival of international experts when it will be decided where to take them.

"He also said the cars were likely to eventually move to territory controlled by Ukraine’s government," the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre statement reads.

Bociurkiw also reportedly claimed that mission members were escorted in and out by "heavily-armed fighters", who guarded the area.

The Ukraine Crisis Media Centre is run by the Ukraine government.

Responding to reports, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak have warned against the bodies being illegitimately moved.

He also said that he wants the remains of Malaysians identified to be brought home by Hari Raya, expected on July 28.

Malaysia has sent a team of forensic specialists to identify and recover Malaysian remains, but Health Minister S Subramaniam said the team was not given access.

MH17 crashed on Thursday in separatist-held Grabovo, in the district of Donesk, some 500 kilometres from Kiev, near the Ukraine-Russia border.

Ukraine officials claim that emergency workers were "working at gun point", despite getting access to the site today.

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