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Investigators make it to Ukraine jet crash site


By MSTYSLAV CHERNOV

ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) - As fighting raged in eastern Ukraine, an international team of investigators on Thursday reached the crash site of the Malaysia Airline Flight 17 and got a first look at where it was brought down by a missile two weeks ago.

Clashes along routes to the wreckage site between government troops and pro-Russian separatist rebels had kept the delegation from reaching the area to retrieve bodies that have been lying in open fields where midsummer temperatures have hovered around 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) for the last several weeks.

But the investigators were allowed early Thursday afternoon through a checkpoint leading to the crash site at the village of Rozsypne by a rifle-toting militiaman who then fired a warning shot to prevent reporters from accompanying the convoy.

The militiaman, who gave his name only as Sergei, said there was still fighting happening in Rozsypne as the Ukrainian army continues an offensive to take back swatches of territory from the rebels.

The team of police and forensic experts, which comprises members from the Netherlands and Australia, are expected to initially focus their efforts on retrieving bodies still on the site and collecting victims' belongings.

As many as 80 bodies are still at the site, said Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from Ukraine.

Ukrainian national security spokesman Andriy Lysenko said a "day of quiet" was declared Thursday in response to a call for a cease-fire from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

But Associated Press reporters near the crash site confirmed Thursday that clashes were still taking place in the immediate vicinity of where the Boeing 777 came down.

Reporters who attempted to reach the crash site by another route were warned by residents that some nearby roads have been mined and saw a mortar round land near Hrabove, another village around which fragments of the plane remain uncollected.

Thursday's drive took the convoy of investigators and Organization for Security and Cooperation officials from the rebel-held city of Donetsk through the town of Debaltseve, which was earlier this week retaken by the government, and later back into rebel territory.

Armored personnel carriers and waving the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian national flag could be seen in and around Debaltseve.

At one entrance to Debaltseve, local residents walked along a pontoon erected over the remains of a blown-up bridge.

A delegation from Russia's state aviation body said Thursday it also hoped to visit the site, an agency spokesman said.

Sergei Izvolsky told the AP that a delegation of Russian specialists from Rosaviatsiya was due in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Thursday to work with Australian and Dutch investigators and examine the wreckage of the plane. Representatives of the Dutch and Ukrainian commissions would not comment on the arrival of Russian officials.

Ukraine's parliament, meanwhile, voted not to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Yatsenyuk had said last week he was resigning after two parties left the coalition supporting him and parliament balked at passing laws he said were essential to fund the country's war against pro-Russian separatists.

While the confidence vote ensures some continuity in the country's turbulent political system, President Petro Poroshenko has said he wants new parliamentary elections held soon.

The current legislature is a leftover of the period of rule of former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was overthrown in February. Before Yanukovych's ouster, parliament was dominated by his Party of Regions, which has since lost many of its members to defection.

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petey July 31 2014 at 1:17 PM

Truly amazing how many racists on this board will jump to defend Putin and just slam Obama. You should all back up your words by packing up and moving to Russia. Go live under the scumbag you worship. That will never happen because you are all a bunch of right wing cowards with no facts or sense. Ignorance at it's finest.

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14 replies
chst586 July 31 2014 at 1:12 PM

Why do those guardians of truth, the media, and their reporters, continue to scream that MH 17 was brought down by a missile. There's no proof that a missile brought the aircraft down. A missile would have left a heat trail that would be visible to the many satallites watching the area, but none showed any such heat trail. Perhaps the Americans are refusing to release their satallite data because it would prove that the US, and NATO are, once again, lying.

What brought MH 17 down? Let's try the 30mm cannon that's standard on the SU-25. It IS proven that an SU-25 was in the immediate proximity of MH17 when it was attacked. It could also have been an R-73 air to air missile that is standard on the SU-25. A close range air to air attack would have left no heat trail.

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4 replies
Kat4Hat July 31 2014 at 1:58 PM

The Ukrainian army looks like armed to their teeth. Why the media does not display how the rebels are armed? I can conclude that the Ukrainian army is on offensive and does everything to keep fighting and obscure the access to the crash.

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vladswim July 31 2014 at 12:47 PM

Putin send in troops to clear nazi Kiev scum from NovoRossiya

Flag Reply +6 rate up
5 replies
handsome devil ! July 31 2014 at 1:51 PM

the site is long "sanitized". the investigators might as well go home. what the russians wanted to be gone,is gone.

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2 replies
petey handsome devil ! July 31 2014 at 2:14 PM

Exactly.

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wntuc handsome devil ! July 31 2014 at 7:07 PM

You mean what the Ukrainians wanted gone is gone. Investigators could have gone in immediately if the Ukrainians had stopped thier offensive

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graves85638 July 31 2014 at 12:47 PM

Senator Obama insisted that the Ukrainians give up their guns - now they don't have those guns to fight against the Russian invaders:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2573557/Flashback-Senator-Obama-pushed-destruction-15-000-TONS-ammunition-400-000-small-arms-1-000-anti-aircraft-missiles-Ukraine.html

See photos of Obama standing proudly over the guns he made them give up.

NOT FOX NEWS

Flag Reply +4 rate up
8 replies
cruz.159 July 31 2014 at 7:49 PM

US has showed no proof that Russia is to blame for this accident. We are being dragged towards WWIII based on false premises.
Why our elected leaders are sanctioning Russia while arming Israel? What a blatant hypocrisy!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
KILO ROCK BRAVO cruz.159 July 31 2014 at 9:00 PM

You're joking, right?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
kmx888 July 31 2014 at 1:47 PM

These people are animals. just as bad as jihadists in my book

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Karine kmx888 July 31 2014 at 2:07 PM

Oh your forgot they are like Americans ! They're learning well from American atrocities !

Flag Reply 0 rate up
fernandezarthr kmx888 July 31 2014 at 7:37 PM

Amen!!!........

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BRUCE July 31 2014 at 1:24 PM

So after the reporters were told to stay away with warning shots, they still tried to sneak around and enter from another direction....sorry, but I just can't feel sorry when they get killed by enemy fire.

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2 replies
rgkarasiewicz BRUCE July 31 2014 at 1:35 PM

If those reporters should get hurt, you can expect that the lying American propaganda machine will naturally pin all of the blame on the rebels.

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okitori BRUCE July 31 2014 at 3:45 PM

The reporters are supposed to be in the soverign nation of Ukraine. The Russian thugs with all the tanks and arms given to them by Putin, need to be gone and not interfere with Ukranian soverignty. Why then does Russia feel it necessary to arm the thugs who are trying to take over the Ukraine? These extremists don't even have the common decency to allow the bodies to be recovered.

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1 reply
Welcome Justin okitori July 31 2014 at 3:55 PM

So it is ok for Obama and the EU to violate Ukraine's sovereignty by instigating the violent overthrow of a democratically elected gov, but not anyone else ? Overlooking the fact there is not one shred of evidence to even suggest Russia is supporting the rebels, then why is not ok for Putin to do what Obama already has ?

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fernandezarthr July 31 2014 at 7:32 PM

The SOB Putin already sanitize the wreckage........no evidence left......even some bodies that probably showed the effects of the rocket explosion, are gone, and probably will never be found. That Putin is a real RAT!!!!....

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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