251 victims of MH17 Ukraine crash identified

  • AFP, The Hague
  • Updated: Sep 26, 2014 20:55 IST

Forensic experts have identified 251 of the 298 passengers and crew killed on downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, after 26 people were named this week, Dutch authorities said on Friday.

"Among the 26 victims, 19 were Dutch and seven were of other nationalities," the justice ministry said in a statement, adding that those nationalities would not be released at the request of their embassies.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch.

The findings of an initial report by a Dutch-led team of air crash investigators appear to back up claims that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

Kiev and the West have accused Moscow-backed separatists of shooting it down with a surface-to-air BUK missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denied the charge and pointed the finger back at Kiev.

Last month forensics experts suspended their search for bodies due to clashes between Kiev and the pro-Russian rebels near the crash site northeast of Donetsk.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week it was still "too dangerous" for investigators to visit the site, and that the Dutch investigators left in Ukraine would return to the Netherlands.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Rutte again vowed to return the remains and belongings of those still at the crash site and that those responsible would be brought to justice.

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