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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Kiev Says Ready to Extend Ceasefire in MH17 Crash Area

RIA Novosti

20:56 08/08/2014

KIEV, August 8 (RIA Novosti) — The Kiev government said Friday it was ready to extend the ceasefire regime near the crash site of the Malaysian Boeing in war-torn eastern Ukraine upon receiving a request from a multinational commission investigating the disaster.

'Ukraine remains committed to its previous agreements about the ceasefire in the 20-km radius [from the site of the crash] in order to ensure an impartial investigation,' Ukraine's cabinet of ministers said in a statement.

'As agreed with experts of the international group, a ceasefire regime will be introduced immediately after receiving a request from our international partners to continue investigative procedures in the plane crash zone,' the statement reads.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko suspended the ceasefire he previously declared in the area where a Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk region on July 17, killing all 298 people on board, nearly two-thirds of them Dutch citizens.

The ceasefire was previously in place to ensure safe access of international monitors and investigators to the site. In the past two weeks, however, foreign experts could barely get to the crash scene due to security concerns.

The Dutch authorities announced that the search for the remains of the crash victims was halted due to the dangerous situation around the crash site and will resume once the security situation allows.

Some 226 bodies have been taken away from the site, while the rest may remain in the field by the town of Torez, according to experts and the independence supporters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. The plane started falling apart while still in the sky, which dispersed the parts over 50 square kilometers (19 square miles), which includes forests and ponds.

Kiev authorities and independence supporters have been blaming each other for the downing of the plane, with independence supporters insisting they lacked the means to shoot down a target flying at that height. The US continues to blame Russia, which allegedly provided weapons to the independence forces.

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