DONETSK, December 17. /TASS/. Leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko has criticized Dutch experts’ work at the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, saying the republic was ready to help in gathering the plane’s wreckage, local media reported on Wednesday.
Recovery work by Dutch experts at the crash site was “unsatisfactory,” the Donetsk news agency quoted Zakharchenko as saying, adding that all parts of the wreckage had to be collected to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the cause of the July 17 disaster.
“A whole lot of fragments remain littered in the area,” he was quoted as saying. “It seems that neither the Netherlands nor anyone in Europe is interested in an investigation into the crash.”
“We have written to the Dutch side and the Malaysian side that we are ready to render any assistance in gathering and transporting the wreckage to facilitate an impartial investigation,” Zakharchenko said.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, some 60 kilometers (around 37 miles) from the Russian border in the zone of combat operations between Donetsk self-defense forces and the Ukrainian army. All passengers and crew died, with the Netherlands reporting 196 victims, the highest death toll in the disaster.
Work to remove the plane’s wreckage became possible after representatives of the Netherlands, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Donetsk People’s Republic signed a protocol in mid-November. Before that, experts and investigators were unable to access the crash site due to continuous shelling on the territory.
First pieces of the wreckage were delivered to the Netherlands on December 9. The Dutch safety board leading the investigation said the fragments would be photographed, scanned and categorized and that experts would attempt to reconstruct the airliner.