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Dutch forensic team gets access to victims’ bodies

The international team of forensic investigators are going to be able to reach the crash site of the fated Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy this morning, three days after the event. Many bodies have already been transfered onto the refrigerated train that will transport them. Pro-Russian separatists have blocked the area up to now, restricting the team from access. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte yesterday, promising unrestricted access to the site, and full cooperation on the repatriation of the bodies. Yesterday, the bodies of 200 victims were placed on the refrigerated train in Torez, which is about 15 kilometers from the crash site.

Dutch diplomat Gert Wibbelink will lead the identification team. He is traveling to the area with his team members this morning. Eight of the team members are from the Netherlands National Forensic Detection Team.

Up to now, the rebels in the area have been restricting various international groups and dignitaries access to the crash site. Experts from the UN civil aviation organization ICAO were unable to go to the disaster area as their safety was not secure. The area of the crash site is close to Donetsk. It is an active war area, with rebels running the region. It is not clear who is exactly in charge.

Russian President Putin has since Saturday promised to put his full strength behind making sure that investigators will be able to reach the site of the plane crash, as well as to put an end to the tensions in Eastern Ukraine.

The delays are unacceptable, Rutte said. A top priority that he, along with leaders from Germany and the UK, for example, are working towards is the repatriation of the bodies to their countries of nationality.