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Dutch-led force hopes to secure Malaysia crash site in eastern Ukraine

The Dutch and Australian foreign ministers are to visit Kyiv to press for proper security at the Malaysian MH17 crash site in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, so official probes can begin and remaining bodies repatriated.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she and her Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans would visit Ukrainian leaders on Thursday to discuss how to secure the 50-square-kilometer (20-square mile) crash site.

Almost one week has passed since Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was apparently shot down by unidentified assailants using a missile in Ukraine's eastern war zone.

The nationals of 11 nations were presumed killed, including 193 Dutch, 44 Malaysians and 37 Australians.

Multinational force for site

Two newspapers, Sydney's Daily Telegraph and The Australian, said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had proposed a Dutch-led multinational security force for the crash site, including personnel from Malaysia and Australia.

On Monday, the UN Security Council passed unanimously a resolution demanding that rebels cooperate with an independent investigation and allow victims' remains to be fully recovered.

Some remains still unrecovered

Forty coffins containing the first as-yet unidentified remains arrived in Netherlands on Wednesday. More remains are due to arrive on Thursday. So far, Dutch officials have confirmed receipt of only 200 of the 298 bodies of the victims.

The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the international probe, said 25 investigators were in Kyiv analyzing photos, satellite images and radar information.

Despite a truce declared by rebels and Ukrainian government forces around the impact site - between Donetsk and Ukraine's border with Russia - unhindered access was essential for investigators, said board spokesman Tjibbe Joustra.

From the outset,

both pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and the Kyiv government issued denials

that they had fired a missle at the airliner.

Puncture marks point to missile

A spokesman for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors in Ukraine, Michael Bociurkiw, said body parts had still been visible at the site on Wednesday. Fuselage fragments showed "significant puncture marks."

A military analyst with IHS Jane's, Konrad Muzyka, told Associated Press that the shrapnel holes were folded inward, indicating that a warhead exploded outside the Boeing 777.

The UN civil aviation body, the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said the cockpit voice recorder was in "good condition."

The device is one of two handed over by rebels to Malaysian experts and now being examined at an aviation laboratory in Britain.

ipj/jr (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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