Team to return to MH17 crash site

A Dutch team of 12 defence and police personnel left for Ukraine today. The team will stay there until 28 March, making preparations for resuming the Dutch repatriation mission in April. They will be joined by a staff member from the Dutch Safety Board.

The team will assess the situation in the fire-ravaged areas that have been cordoned off, and draw up a final plan for the mission in April.

The defence and police personnel will also visit an area northwest of Petropavlivka, to gauge the situation there. That area has not yet been assessed by a Dutch team due to the security situation. The mayor of Petropavlivka has had pieces of the wreckage collected over the past few months, which will be picked up by the Dutch team and stored in Kharkiv for the time being.

The team's activities will depend on the local security situation and the weather conditions.

Consultation with the authorities

The team will work in consultation with the authorities in Kharkiv and in the villages affected by the disaster. It will also consult with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES) and the monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Donetsk. The head of the repatriation mission, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, will visit Kyiv on 20 March with military adviser Air Commodore Theo ten Haaf. While in Kyiv, Mr Aalbersberg will meet with the Ukrainian authorities and the OSCE. He will also speak with delegates from Malaysia and Australia, countries which, like the Netherlands, were severely affected by the disaster.