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Malaysia negotiates ceasefire in Ukraine to get access to plane’s crash scene

July 28, 2014, 9:11 UTC+3 SINGAPORE
"The aircraft's chassis had been scattered around the area when it crashed and this is a challenge for the investigators to perform their task," the head of the Malaysian group of investigators says
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© ITAR-TASS / Zurab Javakhadze

SINGAPORE, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. The Malaysian government is currently negotiating a ceasefire between the Ukrainian authorities and militias in the country’s eastern Donetsk People’s Republic to provide for the safe arrival of a group of international investigators to the crash scene of a Malaysian passenger airliner, Malaysia’s news agency BERNAMA reported on Monday.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 airliner en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the area of combat operations between local militias and Ukrainian governmental troops in east Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Thursday, July 17. All 298 people aboard the plane, including 193 Dutch nationals, died in the air crash.

Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar, the head of the Malaysian group of investigators, told the news agency that the ceasefire is negotiated for the area of 35 kilometers in radius, where the remains of the crashed airliner could be scattered.

"The aircraft's chassis had been scattered around the area when it crashed and this is a challenge for the investigators to perform their task," he was quoted as saying adding that the group of international investigators waiting to arrive at the crash scene is comprised of experts from Malaysia, Australia and the Netherlands.

Khairil Hilmi said there was no timeframe set for the negotiators in Ukraine to reach an agreement adding that the most important was to provide safety for investigators.

“Our priority is to ensure the remains can be recovered and the investigation over the crash done swiftly," he said.

Donetsk People’s Republic acting Prosecutor General Eduard Yakubovsky earlier stated that all objects at the site of the Boeing’s crash are under protection and would remain intact to later be handed to representatives of countries taking part in the probe.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.

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