Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says that the leader of the pro-Russian rebels has agreed to hand over both black boxes from Flight 17 to Malaysian investigators who are in Ukraine.
Mr Najib also said that the remains of 282 of the crash victims currently in Torez are being moved by train to Kharkiv in Ukraine, where they will be handed over to Dutch authorities.
The remains will then be flown to Amsterdam.
Mr Najib added that, as part of an agreement he reached with rebel leader Alexander Borodai, independent international investigators will be given “safe access” to the crash site.
In a hastily arranged news conference at his residence, Mr Najib said that following any necessary forensic work, the remains of the 43 Malaysian citizens who were on the plane would be flown to their home country.
“I must stress that although an agreement has been reached, there remain a number of steps required before it is completed,” Mr Najib said. “There is work still to be done, work which relies on continued communication in good faith. Mr Borodai and his people have so far given their co-operation.”
Anger and resentment toward the Russian-backed rebels and Moscow have been escalating worldwide, including in Malaysia, where there have been calls for economic sanctions against Moscow.
Mr Najib said yesterday that the remains of the Malaysian victims must be returned to Malaysia before the Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. This year, it falls on the 28th.