Ukrainian air investigation authorities will establish a base in Kharkiv for the investigation into the apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Speaking on 18 July, Director general of the Ukraine’s foreign ministry consular service Andrii Sybiga said that a committee established to investigate the accident had met, and plans were established to coordinate international involvement in the investigation.

"The investigation will have an international dimensions as the victims were foreign citizens," he says.

Malaysia has already sent a team of 30 medical staff and investigators to Kiev, but it has not yet been granted access to the crash site.

Despite calls for the ICAO to be appointed to lead the accident investigation, Kiev has asserted that it is responsible for conducting the investigation under the Chicago Convention. This will be conducted by the country’s National Bureau for Investigation of Aviation Events and Incidents.

Sybiga added that experts from Ukraine’s emergency ministry have been granted access to the crash site by separatist rebels, and so far 181 bodies had been recovered and taken to Kharkiv for identification.

Earlier, US president Barack Obama said that intelligence pointed towards the aircraft being shot down by a missile launched within Ukrainian territory. Kiev since issued a statement clarifying that the Boeing 777-200ER was operating outside the range of Ukraine’s air defence systems, and no military aircraft were operating in the area at the time.

Russia has denied any involvement in the alleged shoot down of the airliner, and instead questioned why Ukrainian air traffic controllers sent the airliner into airspace over a conflict area.

In a statement issued on 19 July, Malaysia Airlines says that it is working with embassies to notify and provide support for next of kin of the 298 passengers and crew on board that perished in the accident.

The airline also announced that it will waive change fees for its passengers travelling to any destination until 24 July for travel between 18 July and 31 December. Passengers wishing to cancel their flights will be offered full refunds.

The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared from radar at about 16:20 local time on 17 July while operating a service from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and transiting above the Donetsk region of Ukraine.

Source: Cirium Dashboard