Ukraine rebels to provide access to plane crash site - OSCE

Rescue workers find second ‘black box’ after 298 killed on Malaysian passenger jet

 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31 PM from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on July 17th 2014. Fred Neeleman/EPA

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31 PM from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on July 17th 2014. Fred Neeleman/EPA

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 09:44

Pro-Russian separatist rebels say they have found “most” of the recording devices from the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

A spokesman for the insurgency’s military commander, Igor Girkin, said eight out of the plane’s 12 recording devices have been located.

Any investigators would need specific permission from the rebel leadership before they could safely film or take photos at the scene.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said today the separatists had agreed to provide assistance in an investigation into the downing of a Malaysian passenger airliner and will ensure safe access for international experts visiting the site.

The a security and rights body said in a statement on its website that a “contact group” of senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE had held a video conference with the separatists, who pledged to co-operate with Ukrainian authorities in the investigation.

Kiev had complained that the separatists prevented Ukrainian officials from reaching the site of the crash, in which all 298 people on board were killed.

Rescue workers recovered a second flight recorder today.

“As a matter of priority, they (the separatists) shall close off the site of the catastrophe and allow local authorities to start preparations for the recovery of bodies,” the OSCE said.

It said the rebels had committed to providing safe access and security guarantees to the national investigation commission, including international investigators, in the area under their control.

The plane came down yestderday near Ukraine’s border with Russia, close to the regional capital of Donetsk in astern Ukraine, where the separatists rose up against central rule from Kiev in April.

A separatist leader said the talks with Kiev over the investigation were expected to continue today, adding that a three- to four-days ceasefire was being discussed to facilitate the investigation.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations of blame over the incident. The United States has noted that it took place against a backdrop of Russian support for Ukraine rebels. Moscow denies backing the rebels militarily.

Reuters