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MH17 No ransom or payment was made during the three-day negotiations between the Malaysian special investigation team and separatist group, Donetsk People's Rebuplic, upon retrieving the bodies of the victims on board the downed Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 and its two blackboxes containing data and voice recorder.

National Security Council (MKN) principal assistant secretary Lieutenant Colonel Mohd Sukri Hussain, who was the commander of the Malaysian negotiation team, said during the meeting process, separatist leader Alexander Borodai had asked for nothing in return and wanted Malaysia to investigate.

"He just wants Malaysia to find out the truth behind what really happened to the aircraft," he told reporters Kiev today.

Mohd Sukri (left, in red shirt) said the Ukrainian government had also provided assistance to the Malaysian negotiation team to ensure the team could meet with the separatist leader.

MAS Flight MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday night. The Boeing 777-200 aircraft was carrying 298 people - 283 passengers and 15 crew.

It is believed the plane was shot down but until today, no one has claimed responsibility.

Mohd Sukri said he went to Donestk on Sunday at 4pm, accompanied by 11 others, and had to overcome 12 checkpoints.

'We were worried'

After the five-hour journey, he met with Borodai and began discussing all matters.

"Three things we discussed, that is, the victims' body repatriation, blackboxes and the aircraft wreckage.

"Borodai agreed to give Malaysia all, without any condition," he said, adding that the team owed so much to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for the achievement as he had contacted the Ukrainian government and Borodai.

Another Malaysian negotiation team member, Rosli Shaari, said during the meeting at Borodai's office, he saw the separatist group hang a picture of a Malaysian aircraft in the corner of a wall and some vases of flowers on a side table under the picture, as a sign of offering condolences to the victims.

"We were worried but had to go through as there is no other option in bringing the situation to a conclusion.

"We need to bring the bodies back to their loved ones and must have the blackboxes, including the wreckage, to find out the truth," said Rosli, who works for a satellite communication company Sapura Secured Technologies as general manager (customer management network facilities and services).

He also said he heard several explosions in the city during ongoing negotiations and rushed out of the building to see several buildings ablaze, from a distance.

Rosli said he also heard several explosions of bombs and gunfire in the city.

"We did attempt to go to the crash site in Torez with the rebel groups which followed us in two tanks, but had to return after seeing two jet-fighters scouring above us," he said.

Situation turned tense

He said after the meeting ended, the team was taken to a railway station at 3am on Tuesday, where the bodies of the victims on board the MH17 aircraft were on a train.

Rosli said they were escorted by armed rebels and the situation turned tense when a car intercepted the group's path upon arrival at the railway station.

"The rebels hurriedly alighted from their vehicles and brandished their weapons while shouting at the driver of the car to move away. The driver did as he was told," he said, adding that the Malaysian team immediately boarded the train heading to Kharkiv.

He said during the tiresome journey, they could do nothing but pray for their safety as they were bringing home two vital 'items' - the bodies of 282 victims and two blackboxes.

They arrived at the military facility in Kharkiv at noon Tuesday, where the bodies of the victims were to be scanned and tagged before being flown to the Netherlands.

He said the blackboxes were sent to the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom for investigation last night.

Rosli explained that he was part of the team as he was responsible to set up radio communication for the National Security Council.

He said the negotiation team had hid the two blackboxes in two backpacks to prevent them from being spotted by anyone.

- Bernama

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