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Dutch premier halts search for Ukraine victims


By TOBY STERLING

AMSTERDAM (AP) - The Netherlands' prime minister has halted the search for remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, saying it is too dangerous to continue.

At a news conference in The Hague Wednesday, Mark Rutte praised the effort of the international recovery mission so far, and promised victims' families the search will resume in the future when Ukraine is "more stable."

"We're stopping now, but we won't stop," he said.

Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. In all, 228 coffins with remains have been returned to the Netherlands, but it is not known how many victims that number represents.

Rutte said that now that the international recovery team has been able to access the site and communicate with local authorities, it has learned the recovery effort undertaken by local authorities immediately after the crash was more thorough than initially thought.

The international team of Dutch, Australian and Malaysian recovery workers was unable to reach the site until July 31 because of fighting in the area between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels. Since then, it has found remains of only a few victims, despite expectations it might find as many as 80.

Rutte said that it now appears "fortunately that more was done after the disaster than we thought until now."

Local Ukrainian authorities carried out "an intensive search in the area with 800 volunteers, and there were many bodies recovered in those (first) days," he said.

Those remains are being identified in the Netherlands.

A separate investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing, Rutte said.

Earlier Wednesday, a spokesman for the Dutch Safety Board, which is overseeing that investigation, said preliminary findings due Aug. 17 won't be ready until several weeks after that date. Wim van der Weegen said in a telephone interview that is in part because of the difficulty investigators have had in reaching the crash site.

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missysmomdog August 06 2014 at 4:46 PM

This whole debacle is totally, and unacceptably immoral, indecent and inhumane

Flag Reply +11 rate up
Marven Gardens August 06 2014 at 6:03 PM

I blame Malaysia Airlines most for knowingly flying over a war zone. There were many alternate air routes that Malaysia Airlines could have taken, just as British Airways, and others, took.

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1 reply
Welcome Justin Marven Gardens August 07 2014 at 9:40 AM

It has already been confirmed that Ukrainian ATC instructed the plane to fly over the warzone. Over a dozen prior flights were all directed south of the area, but this one was intentionally instructed to fly over it. Then the pilot requested flying at 38K in altitude, but Ukrainian ATC rejected that, ordering him to fly at 32K. Yet another reason why we probably will never find out what is on the black boxes. But even if you don't believe this, then ask why Ukrainian ATC hasn't handed over the recorded conversations with the plane prior to it crashing. Then ask why America and the EU aren't even asking for those records. We know exactly who shot the plane down, but the west will do nothing to implicate their own puppet regime.

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ronbo681 August 06 2014 at 4:50 PM

Ahh those nasty rebels did a good job searching after all. I hope CNN reports that. It will be safer after the Russian tanks chase Obama's puppet government forces back to Kiev.

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7 replies
PeopleSmoks August 06 2014 at 6:08 PM

Has anyone noticed that there are no landmines as the Ukrainian government had claimed?

Why are they doing everything they can to keep international investigators out???

Something to hide maybe????????

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Welcome Justin August 06 2014 at 4:55 PM

And I thought there was supposed to have been a cease fire to allow the investigators time to work ? Since it is still the separatists protecting and escorting the investigators, that means it is the Ukrainian military who have abandoned the cease fire; so why did they ?

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1 reply
dawnmuse79 Welcome Justin August 06 2014 at 9:12 PM

The Russian separatists living in eastern Ukraine have pretty much compromised the crash site, this includes theft of the passengers' personal possessions .. and they also "planted" items to incriminate the Ukrainian government.

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1 reply
Welcome Justin dawnmuse79 August 07 2014 at 9:23 AM

Like many other ignorants on these sites, you apparently don't read the articles do you ? I highly suggest you actually read them, unless you enjoy proving how ignorant you are.

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sachfoxo August 06 2014 at 5:07 PM

Russans are just like muslims they don't want to get caught violating which they both have . The Dutch are so nice Russians are just like Muslims they don't want to get caught violating which they both have . The Dutch are so nice Russians Suc* !

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1 reply
Recon1 sachfoxo August 06 2014 at 6:56 PM

Sachfoxo, are you having posts show up? I have with this new posting system on AOL articles. I wish AOL would return to the older system.

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PeopleSmoks August 06 2014 at 5:57 PM

There has been a lot of chatter regarding what appear to be .30 cal holes in the fuselage which leads to suspicion that the Ukrainian SU25 that had been following the airliner may have done the shoot down...

Which is why after calling for a cease firearound the crash site, Poroshenko had ordered his military to bombard the area with heavy artilloery, trying to destroy possible evidence.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
calderasf PeopleSmoks August 06 2014 at 6:31 PM

LOLOL pretty funny i bet it was Vorlons.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
Recon1 calderasf August 06 2014 at 6:58 PM

Love your response. However, it could have been the Klingons or the Romulans.

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dawnmuse79 PeopleSmoks August 06 2014 at 9:13 PM

It's the RUSSIANS who are destroying evidence ..... not Ukrainians. They won't let Ukrainians near that site.

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Welcome Justin August 06 2014 at 4:52 PM

it has learned the recovery effort undertaken by local authorities immediately after the crash was more thorough than initially thought.

So any of those dupes who parroted Obama and Perry's ignorant claims care to apologize ?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
calderasf Welcome Justin August 06 2014 at 6:30 PM

What are those mystery claims?

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2 replies
Recon1 calderasf August 06 2014 at 6:53 PM

It was the unacceptable claim by Perry that he was sending the State Guard to patrol the Russian/Ukrainian border in order to keep Americans legal immigrants, meaning anyone in the New World, from invading healthy countries to search for remains of survivors. ;-)

Is my satirical answer to Justin's comment poignant or satirical enough? By the way, thanks for your question.

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Welcome Justin calderasf August 07 2014 at 9:26 AM

That the separatists were inappropriately handling the bodies, that the bodies were being improperly maintained, that the separatists weren't allowing the investigators near the site. All of which have been proven inaccurate by the investigators -- who are staying with and being protected by the separatists, while the Ukrainian military continues to launch strikes in the area.

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Justme Welcome Justin August 06 2014 at 6:38 PM

Remember these bodies were left in a refrigerator train car that ran out of fuel. And I smell politics once again.

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1 reply
Welcome Justin Justme August 07 2014 at 9:28 AM

No, I haven't heard that at all. I did hear the refrigerator car lost power while they were awaiting the investigators, but the funny thing is, all utility control is in Ukrainian hands, not the separatists. Hence why the populations of Luhansk and Donetsk haven't even had power or water for months. So the separatists provided power to maintain the bodies, when even their own people don't have power, but that was interrupted as well. Just more in the list of evidence implicating the Ukrainian gov/military as sabotaging this investigations.

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yomkippur888 August 06 2014 at 5:40 PM

He has the audacity to admit his ignorance over a month after the event.

The man is as moronic as his Ukrainian hosts. The search as more thorough when the Separatists assisted with the search and the Ukrainians joined in.

The Dutch on the other hand know what they are looking for and can't find it. Evidence they believe may implicate Kiev in the tragedy. It is a government they helped to install through illegal means.

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1 reply
dawnmuse79 yomkippur888 August 06 2014 at 9:08 PM

Install through illegal means? How so? Ukrainians got rid of the Russian stooge who got "elected" via gross voter fraud and put in one which was DEMOCRATICALLY elected.

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1 reply
Welcome Justin dawnmuse79 August 07 2014 at 9:32 AM

Not true at all. America and the EU armed and financed the Right Sector radical group who launched a violent overthrow of the democratically elected gov. Then, when they did hold elections, the citizens in eastern Ukraine were not allowed to vote, and international news agencies reported voter intimidation by the military all across Ukraine. Not to mention, there was no independent source to verify the results of the election; so in what way was this a democratic election at all ? The only person who was truly elected through democratic means was the one we ousted because he chose Russia's trade deal over the EU's trade deal (which Russia's was much better for Ukraine overall).

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almazstmp August 06 2014 at 6:52 PM

Interestingly pro-Russian forces are cooperating with International investigators and it is the Kiev military who disrupted the investigation and search. What are they afraid of?

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