SINGAPORE, October 15. /TASS/. Malaysia’s government said on Wednesday it would intensify negotiations with Ukrainian authorities and local militias to ensure an investigating team gets access to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine before winter sets in.
“We will continue negotiating and hopefully, the investigation team can enter the crash site soon, before the winter season starts. Otherwise, we have to wait until the cold season is over, probably next April,” Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said, adding that Dutch investigators managed to enter the MH17 crash site on Tuesday and gathered some personal belongings of victims of the ill-fated aircraft.
The minister said “the complexity of the situation in Ukraine” made it difficult to get an agreement for a full ceasefire as there were several militia groups there.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and some other ministers had already held discussions with the Ukrainian government, Liow said.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, some 60 km (over 37 miles) from the Russian border, in the zone of combat operations between the Donetsk self-defense forces and the Ukrainian army. All the 283 passengers and 15 crew on board the aircraft died.
Liow said the remains of 278 of the 298 victims had been identified so far by a medical team in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the investigation and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report in early September that Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.