MH17: Rebels hand over recorders to Malaysian team

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Rebels in control of Ukraine's Donetsk region have handed over cockpit and flight data recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to a team of Malaysian investigators.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said in a press conference held in the early hours of 22 June in Kuala Lumpur that his government had been working “behind the scenes” to reach agreement on three key points with rebel leader Alexander Borodai.

Subsequently, the two recorders were handed over to Malaysian officials at a ceremony attended by the media.

Najib also said the rebels agreed to move the 282 bodies so far recovered from the crash by train to Kharkiv. From there, they will be flown to Amsterdam aboard a Lockheed Martin C130 aircraft operated by Holland. In addition, Borodai has also agreed to guarantee safe access for investigators to the crash site.

“I must stress that although agreement has been reached, there remain a number of steps required before it is completed,” Najib adds.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said on 21 June that the country is ready to transfer coordination of the investigation into the crash to Dutch authorities.

“As the side that suffered most, the Netherlands may lead the investigation in close coordination and cooperation with all other parties,” he says.

The UN Security Council has also passed a resolution condemning the downing of the jet. It calls for the ICAO to lead the investigation. Russia campaigned strongly to have the ICAO included in the resolution, having earlier condemned Kiev’s assertions that the Ukraine would lead it.