World / Europe

More coffins of MH17 victims arrive in Netherlands

By Agencies in Kiev and The Hague (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-26 09:27

A second group of remains recovered from the crash site of Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday aboard two military aircraft.

And in a development that cast a pall over the ongoing probe into the July 17 tragedy, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk announced his resignation the same day.

But Ukraine's Parliament said on Friday it had yet to receive a resignation letter from Yatsenyuk so it could not vote on whether to accept it or not.

The 74 coffins that arrived on Thursday were transported on Friday from Eindhoven air base to the central city of Hilversum for identification. They brought to 114 the total number of bodies returned to the Netherlands.

More remains were scheduled to arrive on Saturday. The fatal crash of the Boeing 777 airliner killed all 298 people aboard, of whom 193 were Dutch nationals.

At the crash site in eastern Ukraine, international experts found more remains and another large piece of the fuselage on Thursday, Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters in Donetsk.

Meanwhile, an Australian federal police officer on Thursday inspected security at the crash site. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop discussed with her Dutch and Ukrainian counterparts about sending 50 Australian federal police officers to Ukraine to ensure security at the site.

As the recovery of bodies continues, the Dutch Safety Board, which leads the air crash investigation, said on Thursday that investigators in England had successfully downloaded data from the ill-fated plane's flight recorders and found no evidence of manipulation of the two boxes.

It did not release any details of the data.

Adding to the complexity of the situation in Ukraine, Yatsenyuk on Thursday announced his resignation as prime minister. The 40-year-old former banker and diplomat said the move was due to "the collapse of the coalition and blocking of the government initiatives".

Earlier in the day, two political parties announced their departure from the parliamentary coalition. As a result, the Parliament failed to approve bills on the state budget amendments, on the country's future energy policy and on increasing funding for the army.

If the lawmakers vote to accept Yatsenyuk's resignation at the next parliamentary meeting, it would trigger a dissolution of the government.

The ruling coalition, "the European Choice", was formed in the parliament in late February after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the former government.

The breakup of the coalition gives Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko the legal instruments to dissolve the 450-seat assembly and call early parliamentary elections.

(China Daily 07/26/2014 page12)

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