Railway employees work near refrigerator wagons, said to contain bodies of passengers of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane, at a railway station in the town of Torez, Donetsk region. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Organisation for
Security and Co-operation in Europe was negotiating with
separatists to bring a train containing bodies from the
Malaysia Airlines disaster under Ukrainian government
Pressure is growing on the government to recover the bodies
of the 193 Dutch victims, who were killed when flight MH17
went down in territory held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern
Ukraine four days ago.
Many of the corpses of the 298 people on board the flight
from Amsterdam are still scattered across fields while others
have been loaded by the rebels onto refrigerated wagons at a
nearby railway station.
"All efforts are focused on getting this train on to
territory controlled by Ukrainian authorities," Rutte told a
news conference on Sunday (local time). He said a team of
victim identification specialists was likely to enter the
crash site on Monday.
In a leading article, the daily De Telegraaf said the
Netherlands should intervene militarily, if necessary, to
secure the crash site and prevent separatists from destroying
"It is time for action," the newspaper wrote, arguing that
NATO troops and special forces should be dispatched. Rutte
ruled out invoking the collective security provisions of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
At a memorial service in the Dutch city of Haarlem on Sunday,
a cleric counted the dozens of dead from his diocese, and
called for the bodies to be brought home as soon as possible.
"We must be persistent in asking for the bodies of the
victims to be returned if only because of justice," Dean Jan
Hendriks told mourners at a mass.
Rutte said the Netherlands had been entrusted by world
leaders with the coordination of all victim identification
efforts for the flight and would begin setting up an
operating base in the regional capital Kharkhiv.
Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE's mission in Ukraine
said the European security body was in touch with a Dutch
delegation that is now outside rebel-held territory but
hoping to arrive in the regional capital Donetsk on Monday.
"We are planning to facilitate their visit, first to Donetsk
and then to the crash site," he said.