Volodymyr Groysman: Today experts of the international taskforce have finally managed to get to MH17 crash site

Kyiv, 31 July 2014 – “Today experts of the international taskforce have finally managed to get to the  Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 MH17 crash site, informed Volodymyr Groysman, Vice Prime-Minister of Ukraine, Head of the government taskforce for MH17 crash investigation at a briefing in the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “At 7.30 OSCE representatives togetehr with Dutch and Australian experts started to the crash site. Ukrainian military escorted the convoy to the city of Debaltseve. The convoy moved with no problems along the territory which is under our control. On the territory temporary controlled by militants a certain delay occurred as the terrorists were not able to provide security guarantees to the experts. However OSCE representatives along with their Dutch and Australian colleagues decided to move forward. They got to the crash site and had a chance to work until 15.15. After that the convoy of experts moved back and reached Yasynuvata at 16.02 from where it started to Doentsk,” explained Mr. Groysman.

“Today there were provocations on the militants’ side again. Ukrainian side according to guarantees of Ukraine’s President does not hold any military action on the territory along the experts’ way. Also Ukrainian military implement in full the order of Ukraine’s President to not hold ATO in the 20-km zone around the MH17 crash site. It is important to provide security to the international experts in the zone,” Ukraine’s Vice Prime-Minister stressed.

Ertugrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine present at the briefing added: “It is of utmost importance that today the International taskforce has reached the crash site. At the same time it is extremely important that this access way remains safe further, that no military action is on so that the representatives of the Netherlands and Australia will be able to conduct respective investigation directly at the site of the tragedy”.

Ukraine’s Vice Prime-Minister also informed that today Ukraine’s Parliament has ratified the Agreements signed at President’s request pertinent to conducting investigation and access of the international military mission to the crash site that would allow up to 700 international personnel access the crash site for investigation. Up to 250 of them will be Australian representatives. As Mr. Groysman noted: “We have succeeded to build up fruitful cooperation with OSCE as well as with representatives of the Netherlands and Australia. We are constantly in touch with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Australia and the Netherlands. They are currently in Ukraine to be able to provide quick action on any issues important to their countries in this regard. It includes among other the issue of finding the bodies of victims that according to experts’ assumptions are still at the crash site. Our task is to find those bodies, identify them and take them back home.”

At the same time today at the request of Ukraine’s President contact group meeting took place in Minsk. In the framework of this group it was decided that militants would refrain from military action on territory of the corridor which the experts of the International taskforce used today to get to the crash site.

Mr. Groysman also informed that “There is one more train which was not returned back to its base. It is currently located on the territory under militants’ control. One of the railway cars has got personal belongings of the crash victims. We keep demanding that those belongings are returned back, unfortunately it has not happened yet”. He said the contact group has agreed in Minsk to have this train returned back to the Ukrainian side within two days.

Volodymyr Groysman assured that “the Ukrainian side fulfils and will keep fulfilling all its commitments. The situation is under personal control of Ukraine’s President. Every two hours I personally report to the President on all issues pertinent to this operation.”