"We need more, we need a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), the relevant international commission, Putin said."
Kiev/Moscow, July 21 - Dutch coroners Monday examined the bodies of passengers of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed in eastern Ukraine, as dozens were reported killed in the city of Donetsk in fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops.

There are dozens of dead in the city, mostly civilians, Efe news agency quoted rebel leader Andrei Purguin, as explosions rocked the city which came under heavy Ukrainian tank and artillery fire, as saying.

It was not known whether the fighting would delay the transfer of the bodies of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which the Dutch investigators wanted moved in the refrigerated train where they are being kept to the city of Kharkov, the largest in the east of Ukraine.

Flight MH17, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed Thursday afternoon in the conflict-hit Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

According to reports, the indications are that the Boeing 777 crashed after being hit by a missile. US President Barack Obama said that initial investigations showed that the missile was fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by anti-Kiev militants.

According to a Xinhua report, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk Monday said that rescuers have recovered 272 bodies from the crash site.

Two hundred and seventy five bodies have been found and 251 of them are in refrigerators in Torez train station, Yatsenyuk told reporters at a press conference in Kiev.

Ukraine stood ready to transfer the bodies to the Netherlands, Yatsenyuk said, adding that the government in Kiev has no doubt that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

Yatsenyuk suggested that the Netherlands lead the investigation into the incident.

A total of 193 of the victims were of Dutch nationality, some of them medical experts who were going to a conference on AIDS in the Australian city of Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a ceasefire in the vicinity of the crash site, as fighting raged elsewhere.

Efe cited a rebel spokesman, Konstantin Knirik, as saying that the militias had lost two towns to government forces in the region of Luhansk and another located 55 km from the city of Donetsk.

Xinhua reported earlier Monday that at least three people were killed as heavy fighting in Donetsk between insurgents and government troops on Monday even as an international team to investigate the crash of a Malaysian passenger plane arrived in the country's east.

Intensive gunfire and blasts were heard near the airport and railway station in the northwest of the insurgent-controlled city, where local residents were fleeing the battle zone.

At least three people were killed and another wounded in the latest fighting, Xinhua cited the Interfax news agency as quoting health authorities in Donetsk.

The clashes flared up as an international investigation team made up of experts from the Netherlands, the US and Germany arrived in Ukraine's east to probe the downing the passenger jet.

The UN Security Council was expected to meet later Monday to debate an Australian proposal backed by France demanding that the rebels allow free, secure access to the crash site.

Australia, which had 28 citizens on board flight MH17, has condemned the attack and demanded that those responsible be brought to justice.

But Dutch prime Minister Mark Rutte told a parliamentary session Monday the priority was to recover the bodies of his fellow countrymen and seeking those responsible at the moment could hamper rescue operations.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday promised to do everything in his hand to put an end to the Ukrainian conflict in a peaceful manner.

In a statement, Putin said that the country would do everything to move the conflict in eastern Ukraine from the current military phase to the negotiating phase, with the parties using peaceful and diplomatic means alone.

I believe that if military operations had not resumed in eastern Ukraine June 28, this tragedy probably could have been avoided, Putin said in his statement.

Responding to the crash of flight MH17, Putin reiterated Russia's stance with regard to the current situation in Ukraine and warned that no one should use the tragedy to pursue their own political goals.

Putin said the mere presence of representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as representatives of the emergencies ministry of Ukraine and others, was not enough.

We need more, we need a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), the relevant international commission, Putin said.

We must do everything possible to ensure their complete and guaranteed safety and provide them with the humanitarian corridors they need for their work, Putin said.


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