Archive for July 29th, 2014

Clashes again force investigators to abort visit to Malaysia Airlines crash site

By Carol Morello
Washington Post
July 29 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — An international team of forensics experts and investigators does not expect to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 before Wednesday or even Thursday, two full weeks after it was shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired from rebel-held territory, an official said Tuesday.

Negotiations for access are underway with both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels in control of the debris field in eastern Ukraine, said Ertugrul Apakan, head of a monitoring team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that is accompanying the experts.

“We expect in a short span of time, tomorrow or the [next] day, to be able to reach the crash site,” Apakan told reporters in Kiev.

Heavy fighting around the site forced a team of about 50 Dutch and Australian experts to abandon a planned visit Tuesday for the third straight day.

The Ukrainian military is in the midst of a major offensive against the rebels, and some of the fiercest fighting has been in the general area where the plane came down in pieces on July 17. The Malaysian Boeing 777 was carrying 298 passengers and crew en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukraine troops nearing MH-17 crash site; U.N. opens war-crime probe


Los Angeles Times
July 28, 2014

Ukrainian government forces recaptured three towns from pro-Russia separatists and were pressing toward the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine where the separatists accused of downing the plane have obstructed international disaster investigators, officials said Monday.

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, meanwhile, said at a news conference in Geneva that the shooting down of MH-17 and the deaths of all 298 people on board were being investigated for possible war-crime charges.

Pro-Russia militants who seized a dozen towns and cities in eastern Ukraine in March and April have seen the territory under their control reduced by more than half during the past few weeks and are now holed up in their embattled strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk. The separatists also control the miles-wide crash site strewn with debris and victims’ remains but face an advancing government offensive emboldened by international outrage over the plane’s destruction.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told journalists in Kiev on Monday that government troops had recovered control of Shakhtarsk, about 20 miles from the center of the crash site.

“Our troops entered Shakhtarsk, Torez and Lutuhyne,” Lysenko said, claiming government control of towns on roads leading to the wreckage strewn among sunflower fields.
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