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The Netherlands sends 40 servicemen to Ukraine to search for bodies

July 25, 2014, 9:55 UTC+3 25 25/7
“The return of the bodies is still our main task,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte emphasized
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Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte addresses the press in The Hague, the Netherlands, 24 July 2014

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte addresses the press in The Hague, the Netherlands, 24 July 2014

© EPA/VALERIE KUYPERS

THE HAGUE, July 25. /Vitaly Chugin for ITAR-TASS/. The Netherlands will send 40 servicemen to Ukraine to help forensic experts search for the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing crash. The country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte said this at a news conference late on Thursday.

He noted that this would be officers of the Royal Military constabulary that forms part of the Dutch Armed Forces. Rutte assured that the servicemen would not be armed and would not take part in providing security at the site of the catastrophe.

The prime minister also said that two Dutch forensic experts were on their way from Kharkiv to the crash site in order to start searching for the remains on Friday, and in several days the number of experts would reach 23. The 40 officers of the Royal Military constabulary will be assisting them, according to the prime minister.

“The return of the bodies is still our main task,” Rutte emphasized.

Meanwhile, local media report that the Netherlands are also seeking to send to Ukraine under the United Nations’ aegis peacekeepers or armed servicemen to provide security of the forensic experts, as well as an international group of expert investigators of the tragedy’s causes, who couldn’t get to the site of the crash yet due to security concerns.

On Thursday, another 74 victims’ bodies were delivered to Eindhoven, where they were moved to catafalques and sent to a military base in Hilversum. There, the victims will be identified. The identification procedure may take between several days and several months, Rutte warned earlier. More than 200 international experts are taking part in the process.

The Ministry of Security and Justice specified that several dozens of bodies are expected to be delivered on Friday. They are transported in C-130 Hercules military transport planes of the Dutch Air Force and a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III of the Australian Air Force.

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