In an effort to make the MH17 crash site safer, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced that he will be sending 40 unarmed military police. As AP reports, the military police will help the investigators (along with forensic experts) "to look for remaining remains and personal belongings" and "to try to piece together exactly what happened." While pro-Russian separatists have ensured the site is a safe place for the Dutch investigators (who have been given the lead role since Holland was so hard hit), Rutte acknowledged that it "remains a risky place to work," and "will constantly reassess the situation."
As AP reports, The Netherlands is sending 40 unarmed military police to eastern Ukraine as part of a ramped-up effort to find the last victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 still at the wreckage site, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced late Thursday.
The Netherlands has been given the lead in the investigation into what exactly happened to Flight 17 and is taking charge of efforts to identify the dead. This nation of 17 million was the hardest hit, with 194 of its citizens on board the plane.
Rutte said he would also be sending more forensic experts to the scene in the coming days to speed up the investigation that was hampered in its early stages because it was considered too dangerous to work there.
He acknowledged that the region of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists remains a risky place to work.
He also is sending forensic investigators to the site to try to piece together exactly what happened when the plane was shot down a week ago, killing all 298 people on board.
Rutte said the military police will help the investigators.
"They are really looking like the forensic experts," he said. "They will be extra hands and eyes to look for remaining remains and personal belongings."
"For tomorrow, we expect our people to be able to conduct the work necessary," he said. "But we will constantly reassess the situation."
He added, "we are looking into ways to make the crash site safer."
Rutte said he would not rest until he has brought the perpetrators to justice.
"I'm extremely motivated to find out what happened, who did this," he said, "And as soon as we know, I will do everything in my power — even if it is the last thing I do in this job — to make sure we bring them to justice."
His comments Thursday came hours after two military planes carrying 74 coffins landed at a military base in the Netherlands. A day earlier, the two military transport planes — one Dutch and one Australian — brought back the first 40 coffins and more flights were planned for Friday.
Thousands of people have turned out to watch the convoys of hearses drive from the Eindhoven Air Base to a military barracks in the central city of Hilversum, where the remains will be identified by an international team of experts.