Timmermans in Kharkiv, discusses MH17 investigation

Minister Frans Timmermans and his Australian Foreign Affairs colleague Julie Bishop arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine Friday morning to visit with the forensic team in the area. 

The Ministers will visit the experts and others who have been preparing the bodies of the victims for transport from the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to their countries of nationality.

Support and encouragement will also be offered the experts and others concerned with the extensive operation. Up to now, 114 coffins have arrived in The Netherlands, with another 74 on the way on Friday.

The plane carrying the other coffins is set to depart Ukraine at around midday on Friday. The Ministers will be present to see the Dutch military plane off.

Bishop and Timmermans have been in Ukraine's capital Kiev since Thursday, to discuss how the investigation into the crash disaster will proceed. Prime Minister of The Netherlands, Mark Rutte, told the press on Thursday that he will be sending Dutch Military Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee) to Ukraine to assist the investigative team. These police are stressed to add only forensic expert help, and are not armed.

Jan Tuinder, Dutch leader of the forensic investigation team on the ground at the crash site in Ukraine, is saying that there is a dire need for the area to be secured, so that their investigative work can progress quickly and thoroughly.

Last Thursday, 298 people were killed in the tragic Malaysia Airlines crash, including 194 Dutch and 27 Australians.