Australia has sent 50 police officers to London in anticipation of deploying them to eastern Ukraine to secure the Malaysian plane crash site as part of a proposed international team.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said foreign ministers from Australia and The Netherlands will go to Kyiv to iron out the details of deploying such a team, under U.N. authority, to secure the crash site in rebel-held east Ukraine.
Meanwhile, two more planes are due to take off from Ukraine for the Netherlands, carrying dozens more victims of the shootdown of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 last week. All 298 people on board were killed.
Who downed MH17?
Earlier Thursday, Russia called on the United States to prove that the passenger jet was shot down by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov asked the U.S. to produce proof that it has technical data and satellite photos to back the accusation.
U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that a Russian SA-11 “Buk” missile downed the aircraft and that ill-trained rebels likely fired the missile believing the aircraft was Ukrainian.
Black boxes intact
Meanwhile, investigators have found no evidence that either of the plane’s two black boxes were tampered with, the Dutch Safety Board, which is coordinating the probe, said.
In a statement Thursday, the Board said the data from the Boeing 777’s flight data recorder had been successfully downloaded by investigators at Britain’s Air Accident Investigation Branch.
World leaders had expressed concern that the black boxes, which could contain information critical for reconstructing what brought down the airliner, may have been tampered with by rebels controlling the region in which the aircraft crashed last week.