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Bodies recovered from crash site of MH17

Bodies of 233 of 298 victims on Malaysia Flight 17 have been recovered.
By Danielle Haynes   |   July 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM   |   Comments

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GRABOVO, Ukraine, July 20 (UPI) -- The bodies of 233 victims of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have been recovered from the crash site in Ukraine, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said.

One hundred and ninety-two of the victims were being kept in refrigerated train cars by pro-Russian separatists, he added Sunday, and there are ongoing discussions for the release of those bodies.

The bodies of the 298 people on board the flight, which crashed after being shot down by a surface-to-air missile, were lying in a field in eastern Ukraine for days until the recovery this weekend.

On Saturday, Dutch Mark Rutte -- who called the fact that the bodies were unrecovered for so long shocking and disrespectful -- called for the immediate repatriation of the victims.

"In defiance of all the rules of proper investigation, people have evidently been picking through the personal and recognizable belongings of the victims. This is appalling," he said in a statement. "And it is undermining efforts to investigate and reconstruct what happened."

Malaysia Airlines released a full passenger manifest, indicating nearly two-thirds of the victims were from Netherlands.

The Ukrainian State Emergency Service said the recovery efforts of both the bodies and evidence from the crash scene has been complicated by armed, pro-Russian separatists guarding the area.

Follow @DanielleHaynes1 and @UPI on Twitter.
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