Separatists Have 'Full Control' Over MH 17 Crash Site, Says Malaysian Minister

Tensions between rebels and Ukraine have stalled the recovery of MH 17 remains.

ByABC News
July 20, 2014, 12:38 PM

July 20, 2014— --

    Malaysia's Transport Minister Is "Deeply Concerned" About Crash Site

    A Malaysian team of 133 officials and experts arrived in Kiev on Saturday morning to investigate the MH 17 crash site but they have been unable to get to the area to recover victims' remains and retrieve the aircraft's black boxes, the Malaysian government said in a statement released today.

    According to the statement, armed rebels have prevented the Malaysian recovery and investigation team from getting to the wreckage of MH 17. The Ukrainian government says it is unable to guarantee the safety of international investigators in and around the site.

    "Malaysia is very concerned that the sanctity of the crash site has been severely compromised," the statement read.

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A man looks for the remains of victims in the debris at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2014.

    Rebels Claim They Found MH 17 Black Boxes

    Borodai told ABC News that the rebels believe they have recovered the black boxes from flight MH 17 but that they are unsure of the finding and are waiting for the arrival of experts to verify the black boxes.

    The items believed to be the black boxes will be protected and secured until investigators arrive, Borodai said.

    Borodai also guaranteed the safety of international investigators and journalists at the MH 17 debris field. He questioned why experts had not yet arrived, suggesting that Ukraine was stalling investigations.

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    Victims of MH 17 Honored, Remembered Around The World

    The international community has come together to mourn the 298 victims of flight MH 17.

    In the Netherlands, families came together at Sunday morning church services to grieve and mourn.

    "It's terrible, and everybody's hearts are bleeding and crying," Father Julius Dresme of the St. Vitus church in Hilversum told the Associated Press. "And it makes (people) restless and people feel sorrow, and feel a little anger but mostly sadness, confusion."

    In Rome, Pope Francis led a prayer in St. Peter's Square for peace in Ukraine.

    "I invite you to remember and to keep praying for tensions and conflicts which are going on in different parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and in Ukraine," he said.

    In Australia, the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne opened with a tribute to several delegates who were killed in the MH 17 disaster.

    "It's a really important time for what we think everyone needs, which is a space to grieve and to respect the six members of our community that died on MH 17," conference co-chair Sharon Lewin said.

    Among the victims who were en route to the conference was Dr. Joep Lange, a leading expert in the field of HIV/AIDS.

    There were nearly 100 HIV/AIDS researchers and scientists on flight MH 17 when it was shot down over Ukraine.

Gillian Mohney, Kirit Radia, and Ali Weinberg contributed to this report.

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