Tag Archives: Malaysia Airlines

Large Team Of #Dutch, #Australian Experts Gets To Work At #MH17 Crash Site


By RFE/RL.A Ukrainian soldier watches from an armored vehicle with a Ukrainian flag in front of OSCE vehicles at a checkpoint in the village of Debaltseve, in eastern Ukraine, on July 31.A Ukrainian soldier watches from an armored vehicle with a Ukrainian flag in front of OSCE vehicles at a checkpoint in the village of Debaltseve, in eastern Ukraine, on July 31.

A large team of international experts has gotten to work recovering bodies at the crash site of Malaysian airliner MH17 in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

The Dutch Justice Ministry said in a statement that “Dutch and Australian experts arrived at the crash site on Friday morning….The 70 experts will conduct search operations in several places at the crash site.”

All 298 passengers and crew were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down by what Ukrainian and some Western government sources say was a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.

Western officials have accused Russia of giving the separatists the missiles capable of shooting down the plane.

Russia denies supplying the separatists with weapons, funds, or fighters.

Breakthrough For Investigators

Efforts to recover remaining bodies from the crash site have been hampered by fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

More than 200 coffins have been sent back to the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the July 17 crash, but many victims’ remains have yet to be recovered amid the fighting.

Ukrainian soldiers with their humvee stand guard on July 31, 2014 near the convoy of the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) during their mission to reach the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at a check-point in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. © AFPUkrainian soldiers with their humvee stand guard on July 31, 2014 near the convoy of the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) during their mission to reach the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, at a check-point in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. © AFP

A small group of experts visited the crash site for the first time on July 31, after Ukrainian forces declared a “day of quiet” in response to a call for a cease-fire from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Dutch and Australian experts arriving at the site on August 1 were accompanied by officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Australian officials have said they believe up to 80 bodies may still remain at the crash site. International observers have said that evidence at the site has been tampered with.

Intense Fighting, Senior Separatist Said Killed

Ukraine’s military said 14 people, including at least 10 soldiers, were killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatists near the town of Shakhtarsk, close to the crash site, on August 1.

The military said 13 soldiers remained unaccounted for after the attack.

Government forces have intensified their military offensive against the rebels since the downing of the plane, forcing the rebels out of several towns they had held around their last two big strongholds, the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Meanwhile, reports suggest a senior official of the breakaway, self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” was killed in fighting in the Luhansk region.

Proselkov was the de facto deputy foreign minister of the breakaway Ukrainian region and an aide to its self-proclaimed leader, Pavel Gubarev.

Ukrainian military officials said Proselkov was killed by “friendly fire” from militants and mercenaries from the breakaway “Luhansk People’s Republic.”

A Facebook post by Russian Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin on August 1 says 32-year-old Aleksandr Proselkov was killed by gunfire the previous day as he “accompanied a convoy of humanitarian aid” to Donetsk.

Dugin speculated Proselkov may have been killed by supporters of rival Russian nationalist political adviser Sergei Kurginyan because of his support for the breakaway regions’ military commander, Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov).


With reporting by AFP and Reuters

RFE/RL.

Dmitry Tymchuk’s military blog: Summary – July 31, 2014


Dmitry Tymchuk’s Military Blog“Information Resistance” is a non-governmental project that aims to counteract external threats to the informational space of Ukraine in the main areas of military, economic and energy, as well as the sphere of informational security. 

Brothers and sisters!

Here’s the Summary for July 31, 2014

The bad news:

[1.] Today is “a day of silence” in the ATO zone, declared at the request of the UN Secretary General, to ensure that international experts can work in the area of the Malaysian airliner crash.

It came as a surprise to no-one that, in reality, this “day of silence” was only observed by the ATO forces, which carried out no active operations today, and only repelled attacks made against their positions. While terrorists battered them with everything they had and from everywhere they could.

Been there, done that–case in point, the “truce” of June 20-30th. If anyone in the world still wondered whether Putin’s insurgents give a damn about any truce (or the opinions of the international community, or basic moral and ethical norms), here is your answer, once again. We, on our part, had no doubts [about the insurgents].

Ukrainian Army #1

[2.] The next stage of mobilization in Ukraine comes with new oddities. We are receiving signals that representatives of recruitment offices are handing out recruitment summons to all and sundry, and are being, to put it mildly, overly persistent about it.

Here, one must understand that the summons itself does not equal being sent off to the army. Enlistment offices don’t just call on those who will join the ranks when mobilized–they also “ring out” [check up on] other individuals liable for military service. Naturally, the Ministry of Defense should be constantly explaining all of this at the “top” level, while the military enlistment office [should be explaining it] locally, so as not to cause unnecessary commotion.

However, there are cases when the enlistment officers’ zeal gets way out of bounds. Each such case must be cleared up. Today, we discussed this with representatives of state agencies, and circulated a proposal to create a “hotline” on mobilization issues. Hopefully, the military authorities will welcome [this proposal], given how pressing the matter.

Ukrainian Army #2

[3.] The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine states [the following fact]: Russia conducts aerial reconnaissance using military aircraft and drones from the territories of Crimea and Transnistria.

Crimea is a no-brainer–it is an occupied area, and the Russians in that territory are the occupiers. But we must clearly make up our mind regarding Transnistria. For a long time, Ukraine has actively participated in resolving the “Transnistrian issue.” Kyiv has always considered, and continues to view Transnistria as a territory of Moldova, but it has always advocated that this issue be resolved purely by political means.

I think it’s [high] time we recognized that Transnistria is a formation that is hostile towards our state, being a territory from which Russia carries out actions against Ukraine (we must remember that in March 2014, before the border was blocked, this was exactly from where crowds of subversives crept into Ukraine). This is the Kremlin’s springboard for acting against our state.

In the future, Ukraine must make every effort to restore Moldova’s control over this territory. Without this [control], Transnistria is like a Russian landmine near Ukraine, biding its time until it blows.

Ukrainian Army #3 Continue reading

Ukraine: Search base set up at Malaysia Airlines #MH17 crash site


Australian experts examine the area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The head of the Dutch-led international team investigating the Malaysian Airline Flight 17 disaster says his group has retrieved additional DNA samples from 25 victims at a mortuary in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)Australian experts examine the area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The head of the Dutch-led international team investigating the Malaysian Airline Flight 17 disaster says his group has retrieved additional DNA samples from 25 victims at a mortuary in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) — With the sound of artillery fire in the distance, dozens of international investigators arrived Friday at the zone where a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine and began preparations to comb the rural area for remains of as many as 80 victims and jet debris.

Several hours before they arrived, at least 10 Ukrainian soldiers were killed when their convoy was ambushed by pro-Russian separatist rebels in a town close to the wreckage site. Thirteen more soldiers were unaccounted for after the attack, officials said, and the bodies of four more people were being examined to determine whether they were soldiers or rebels.

The investigators from the Netherlands and Australia plus officials with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe traveled from the rebel-held city of Donetsk in 15 cars and a bus to the crash site outside the village of Hrabove. Then they started setting up a base to work from at a chicken farm.

As the investigators prepared equipment for the search, an Associated Press reporter heard the artillery fire.

The investigative team’s top priority is to recover human remains that have been rotting in midsummer heat of 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) since the plane went down on July 17. They will also try to retrieve the belongings of the 298 people killed who were aboard the Boeing 777.

Ukraine and the West contend the plane was shot down by the rebels with a Russian-supplied missile. Rebel leaders publicly deny it, but one top rebel official has told the AP on condition of anonymity that insurgents were involved in the operation that downed the plane.

Friday’s search effort came after a smaller advance investigative team managed to perform a preliminary survey of the area a day earlier. For days, clashes along routes to the wreckage site had kept investigators from reaching the site. Independent observers warned that there has been tampering with evidence.

The sprawling site of fields in between two villages will now be officially designated a crime scene and divided into grids that will be systematically searched for remains, victims’ belongings and jet crash evidence, Australian police officer Brian McDonald told reporters in Hrabove. Specially trained dogs will be also be used in the search.

The investigative team’s journey in their convoy lasted about three hours from Donetsk, through the government-held town of Debaltseve, and back into the separatist-controlled territory, where the wreckage lies. At Debaltseve, the convoy was joined by three vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

An Ukrainian government army' vehicle travels across a damaged bridge near the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)An Ukrainian government army’ vehicle travels across a damaged bridge near the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Both sides in the conflict tentatively agreed to a cease-fire around the crash zone, but the Friday morning attack by rebels on government troops took place less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the crash site, outside the town of Shakhtarsk. Ukrainian forces and rebels have been battling in that area for several days but the town is still in rebel hands.

Defense officials said that an army convoy was struck by mortars during redeployment.

Ukraine security spokesman Vladislav Seleznev said the attack took place at 6 a.m., before the end of the 24-hour “day of quiet” declared Thursday in response to a call for a cease-fire from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“The militants are behaving in a cowardly and shameless fashion,” Seleznev said. “They used the ‘day of quiet’ just to fire on us.”

Another Ukraine defense spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said another 13 soldiers have been reported missing in action after the attack.

Seleznev said the bodies of another four people killed in the incident have not yet been identified.

Ukrainian forces in attempting to regain control of the area are trying to drive a wedge into an area between the largest rebel-controlled cities, Donetsk and Luhansk. Shakhtarsk lies on one of two highways linking those cities.

In Donetsk, meanwhile, one person was killed Friday and three others were wounded when mortar fire struck a minibus carrying passengers near the central train station, said city hall spokesman Maxim Rovensky.

The city government in Luhansk said five residents were killed and nine wounded after artillery shells rained down on them.

Officials in the two cities did not say who they believe was responsible for the shelling.

Leonard reported from Kiev, Ukraine. Associated Press reporter Yuras Karmanau contributed to this report from Donetsk, Ukraine.


Associated Press.

#Australia says all #MH17 bodies should be retrieved from crash site within days


Russia, Ukraine and separatist leaders agree as 14-vehicle convoy heads for MH17 site after successful advance mission.

Australian Associated Press
Convoy of special monitoring mission, Dutch and Australian experts bolstered by arrival new assets and additional personnel from Kharkiv en route to the crash site. Photograph: OSCEConvoy of special monitoring mission, Dutch and Australian experts bolstered by arrival new assets and additional personnel from Kharkiv en route to the crash site. Photograph: OSCE

The Australian government is increasingly confident it will be only a matter of days before the remaining bodies of MH17 victims and their effects are transported from the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

The breakthrough came after a meeting between Russian, Ukrainian and separatist leaders in the Belarusian capital Minsk, and followed the successful mission of an advance team involving Australian and Dutch police.

The Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, wrote on Twitter that within two days militants would allow passage of the bodies through the war-torn Donetsk region.

The advance team has identified a new, safer but longer route for a 14-vehicle convoy, which on Friday afternoon, Sydney time, was on its way to the site, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said.

“There will be about 100 [people] in this convoy,” the Australian foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, said from Kiev. “We have judged that it is safe for a much larger team to go on to the crash site and really start working in earnest.”

Bishop, who will leave Ukraine on Friday, said refrigerated vans would carry the remains, which would then be transferred to the Netherlands for identification. “My work is done but the mission goes on,” she said.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, said the advance team, which had been prevented four times from reaching the site due to shelling and gunfire, had itself recovered some remains.

Australian officials believe as many as 80 bodies are still at the site.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 is believed to have been shot down on July 17 by a surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatists, killing all 298 people on board including 38 Australians.

Abbott said the Australian federal police and Dutch police mission was risky, given the continued fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists in the area.

But the government had taken the best expert advice and Australia’s special envoy Angus Houston was “plugged in” to the international team involved in the mission.

Following Clive Palmer’s comments that Australian police should be withdrawn because of the dangers, Mr Abbott said he did not lightly put personnel in harm’s way.

“But let’s not forget 298 innocent people have been murdered, 38 Australians have been murdered,” he said. “We owe it to our dead to bring them back, we owe it to their families to bring them back.”

The advance team paused for a moment’s silence at the crash site, almost two weeks to the hour since the plane went down, after travelling for six hours to get there.

Senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE met in Minsk as news came through of the successful advance mission.

A statement following the meeting said the senior representatives had committed to securing safe access by international investigators to the crash site until their work on the spot was completed.

There was also agreement on the release of hostages, improved monitoring of the ceasefire and better control and verification on the border between Ukraine and Russia.

Another meeting will be held next week.

via Australia says all MH17 bodies should be retrieved from crash site within days | World news | theguardian.com.

Ukrainian troops suffer heavy loss in ambush


Associated Press
An armed pro-Russian rebel secures the area next to a refrigerated train loaded with the bodies of victims, in Torez, eastern Ukraine, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site and had them loaded Sunday onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, Ukrainian officials and monitors said.An armed pro-Russian rebel secures the area next to a refrigerated train loaded with the bodies of victims, in Torez, eastern Ukraine, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site and had them loaded Sunday onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, Ukrainian officials and monitors said. VADIM GHIRDA/AP

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say at least 10 government troops have been killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatist rebels in an area near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Defense officials said in a statement Friday that the attack happened during redeployment in the town of Shakhtarsk, which has been the object of sustained battles for several days.

Ukrainian forces have latterly focused their strategy on driving a wedge into an area between the two main rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Shakhtarsk lies on one of two highways linking those cities and is about 20 kilometers south where the Malaysia Airlines plane came down.

The Boeing 777 was brought down in a missile attack last month, killing all 298 people onboard.

Ukrainian soldiers, including some who are wounded, stand next to a Ukrainian helicopter as another one flies in the background on July 31, 2014 in a field near Zaporizhya, after a military operation in Ukraine's eastern regions. © AFPUkrainian soldiers, including some who are wounded, stand next to a Ukrainian helicopter as another one flies in the background on July 31, 2014 in a field near Zaporizhya, after a military operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions. © AFP

via Ukrainian troops suffer heavy loss in ambush – Europe – Stripes.