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Pro-Russia rebels hand over MH17 black boxes, call for ceasefire

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday handed over two black boxes recovered from the crash site of the MH17 jet to Malaysian officials at a press conference.

world Updated: Jul 22, 2014 16:54 IST
eastern Ukraine,MH17,Malaysia jet

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday handed over two black boxes recovered from the crash site of the MH17 jet to Malaysian officials at a press conference.

They also announced a ceasefire within a 10 kilometre (six mile) radius around the crash site to allow international investigators to safely access the vast area where the Malaysia Airlines flight was downed Thursday.

Members of the media take pictures of black boxes belonging to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, before their handover from Ukrainian pro-Russian separatist to Malaysian representatives, in Donetsk. Reuters

Read: Russia says MH17 probe should be done by 'international community', not Ukraine

"We have decided to hand the black boxes over to Malaysian experts," the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Borodai, told journalists.


MH17 crash: Black Boxes of downed jetliner turned over​

The Malaysian team of experts and representatives of the separatist group then signed a protocol before the bright orange boxes were handed over.

Read:Train full of MH17 victims' bodies must leave: Dutch tell rebels

"On behalf of the Malaysian government I thank the government of the Donetsk Republic for handing us the two black boxes which are the property of Malaysia," said a member of the Malaysian team.

"We have not found the black boxes from flight MH370 (disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March), so are happy to be able to recover these.

"I see that the black boxes are intact with only minor damage."

One of the boxes will contain all conversation in the cockpit and another all flight data.

However, it is unclear how useful this will be in determining what happened to the flight, which is believed by Kiev and world leaders to have been shot down by a surface-to-air-missile.

The Russia-backed separatist rebels who control the area where the plane went down are suspected of having fired the missile, however they blame the Ukrainian military.

Read:Time for Russia to 'get out' of Ukraine, say Britain

There has been an outpouring of global outrage over lack of access to the site, and fears the rebels have tampered with evidence.

Borodai gave in to demands for a ceasefire to allow investigators full access to the site.

Read: Dutch Twitter avatars go black demanding MH17 bodies' return

Armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the MH17 crash site and had them loaded onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, Ukrainian officials said. (AP photo)

"We will order a ceasefire in a area of 10 kilometres around" the site of the disaster, which left 298 people dead, he said.

Read: Rebels to give MH17 black boxes to Malaysia

Malaysian officials were accompanying a refrigerated train transporting the remains of the passengers to the town of Kharkiv, controlled by the government in Kiev.

First Published: Jul 22, 2014 07:56 IST