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Ukraine says operation for search and identification of MH17 crash victims over

May 22, 2015, 17:49 UTC+3 KIEV
Only one body hasn't been recovered in the operation
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At the crash site

At the crash site

© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

KIEV, May 22. /TASS/. The operation for the search and identification of people killed in the MH17 crash in Ukraine’s Donetsk region is over, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the governmental investigation commission Gennady Zubko said on Friday after a meeting of the international investigation mission.

"Members of the commission informed about the completion of one the mission’s phases - the search and repatriation of the bodies. As many as 297 bodies have been recovered in the operation and 295 out them have been identified. These bodies have been taken to the Netherlands," he said, adding that this was the end of the search phase however the aviation and criminal investigation would be continued.

"All the crash victims are considered to be found but it is not possible to identify all of them," Zubko said. "DNA identification tests will be over on July 1, 2015 and all fragments of bodies will be taken to the Netherlands by August 1."

More than 900 officers have been involved in 2,600 actions within the search operation. Twenty-four trucks with fragments of the plane were sent to the Netherlands for expert studies, he said.

The Boeing 777-200 of the Malaysia Airlines en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17, 2014 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 - citizens of ten states - and 15 crewmembers onboard the aircraft died. Most of the passengers - 196 people - were Dutch citizens. According to the key theory of the crash, the plane was hit by a missile. The Ukrainian authorities and militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) accused each other of the incident. On July 21, the United Nations Security Council urged to conduct an independent comprehensive investigation. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stressed Russia was not satisfied with the progress of the investigation.

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