News / Europe

MH17 Crash Investigators Hampered by Fighting in Ukraine

MH17 Crash Investigators Hampered by Fighting in Ukrainei
Henry Ridgwell
July 27, 2014 10:21 PM
A team of international crash investigators and police officers was forced to cancel a visit to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane Sunday in eastern Ukraine. Heavy fighting has been reported between government forces and rebels close to the area where Flight MH17 came down ten days ago. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Kyiv.
Henry Ridgwell

A team of international crash investigators and police officers was forced to cancel a visit to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane Sunday in eastern Ukraine.  Heavy fighting has been reported between government forces and rebels close to the area where Flight MH17 came down ten days ago.

The team of international police officers from the Netherlands and Australia had been due to visit to the crash site Sunday.

But they were confined to their hotel in the regional capital, Donetsk.  Alexander Hug, deputy chief of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said that going there was too dangerous.

“The site itself appears to be not safe, we will not risk our unarmed civilian observer mission to deploy to a site where we cannot control the risk to a degree where we are confident we have it at the level where it is acceptable,” said Hug.

Ukraine and its Western allies say Russian-backed separatists downed the plane with a surface-to-air missile. The rebels, and Moscow, deny involvement.

Earlier, Malaysia - whose flag carrier Malaysia Airlines owned the downed Boeing - said it had struck a deal with the separatists to allow an unarmed police force to secure the site.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott explained his country’s role in the policing mission.

“Our whole and sole purpose is to claim our dead and bring them home as quickly as we can, and that is what this next phase of 'Operation Bring Them Home' is all about,” said Abbott.

That operation is complicated further as fighting intensifies between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

Ukraine’s army appears to have gained momentum - retaking control of territory from the pro-Russia separatists.  Their latest victory was in the town of Lysychansk, about 100 kilometers north of the crash site.

There, local residents are becoming weary of the conflict.

Walking her infant daughter through the rubble-strewn main street, a mother complained that all she could buy was soap.  Nothing works, she said. There is no electricity, and banks are closed.

The fighting is edging closer to the center of the key rebel-held city of Donetsk.  Roads out of the city are jammed as residents flee the conflict.

Visiting Ukraine's National Guard training base Saturday, President Petro Poroshenko said his forces had the firepower to defeat the rebels.

"The Ukrainian Army has been reborn in these last two months, and today we can confirm the soldiers are liberators who are freeing Ukrainian cities and villages from occupation,” said Poroshenko.

In the midst of the conflict, teams of investigators are trying to forensically piece together the final moments of flight MH17. So far their progress is frustratingly slow. 

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
July 29, 2014 1:33 AM
Glory to Ukraine!

by: Not Again from: Canada
July 28, 2014 1:32 AM
It is absolutely unsafe and unsecure for more human beings to go onto a site, that is in the middle of a war, in which dastardly criminals have killed almost 300 innocent human beings. What is not to say, that the same dastardly criminals will not fire a large ground to ground rocket and kill/maim these valiant investigators, and try to put the blame on their adversaries? Those that are placing this human beings in harms way, in the range of dastardly criminals, have in my view lost their good common sense.
For what purpose more lives are being risked AT THIS TIME? the one that comes to mind, is blind stupidity! We have all seen the news clips with the rear fuselage inward, streched metal, going perforations.....

by: Richard M from: North Carolina
July 27, 2014 8:36 PM
The dead are not going to get any deader because the investigation is delayed. However, suspending hostilities while under active artillery fire from the Russian side of the border places Ukrainian troops in danger all of the time. The longer the wait the more troops die. For this reason I perfectly understand why the Ukrainians want to roll up the battlefield as quickly as possible.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs