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MH17: Investigators obstructed during cell-tower probe

Investigators probing the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have been barred from accessing parts of east Ukraine to gather telephone network information.

Teams conducting the criminal inquiry into the crash, in July last year, have spent some two weeks in the area with the support of European security organisation OSCE.

They have been trying to perform technical research into cell towers used by mobile telephones and looking into the communications networks of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

But the Dutch prosecutor’s office says that representatives of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic – a self-proclaimed breakaway territory – have “refused access” to the area and, as a result, its effort in Luhansk has “not succeeded”.

This effort had been intended to obtain “evidence to support or discard different scenarios of the cause of the crash”, the office adds.

It has managed to perform research into cell-tower location, as well as network analysis, in the Donetsk area.

“The information that has been collected during the mission will be examined and analysed in the Netherlands,” says the office.

Flight MH17 came down near Hrabove, near the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk territories. Investigators are trying to establish whether it was attacked with a surface-to-air missile and, if so, to determine the source of the weapon.

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