Dutch identification team arrive in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk

by Reuters
Monday, 21 July 2014 06:26 GMT

DONETSK, Ukraine, July 21 (Reuters) - Three members of a Dutch Disaster Victims Identification team arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Monday, the first international investigators to reach rebel-held territory since the airliner crashed last week.

They declined to give any details of their plans but a representative for the rebels in the Donetsk region said rebel leaders were prepared to meet and assist them in reaching the site or the refrigerated train where some bodies are being kept.

Sergei Kavtaradze, an official of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said the rebels would take advice from the international experts as to where to send the train.

"We are waiting for the experts to come and decide," he told Reuters.

A group of Malaysian officials was also due to arrive in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

Officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been in Donetsk since the end of April to monitor the situation in rebel-held territory.

They are the only international officials to have been at the scene, which investigators need to be secure to have a chance of determining what and who caused the plane to plunge into the steppe.

A source at the OSCE said the Dutch experts would go to the town of Torez to check the bodies in refrigerated wagons. (Reporting by Peter Graff and Anton Zverev, writing by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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