A train carrying the remains of victims of a Malaysian Airlines plane shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine has arrived in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv.
The train, which includes five grey refrigerated carriages, slowly rolled into the grounds of an arms industry plant in Kharkiv on Tuesday where the remains are due to be unloaded and then flown to the Netherlands.
The first bodies will arrive in the Netherlands on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
“Tomorrow the first plane (with bodies) will leave for Eindhoven,” in the southern Netherlands, Rutte told journalists.
Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Kharkiv, said “once the remains arrive in the Netherlands the identification process will take place. Those who need to be will be flown abroad to their countries of origin”.
Almost 300 people were killed when the Malaysian Airlines airliner was shot down on Thursday, most of them were Dutch. The Netherlands is leading the international investigation.
‘Black boxes’ handed over
Earlier on Tuesday in Ukraine’s city of Donetsk, some 300km south-east from Kharkiv, the separatists handed two so-called black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane over to Malaysian experts.
“The Malaysian team has taken custody of the black boxes, which appear to be in good condition. They will be held securely in Malaysian custody while the international investigation team is being formalised,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement to Reuters.
“At that time, we will pass the black boxes to the international investigation team for further analysis.”
Fighting flared up in Donetsk again on Monday around the city’s train station and the sound of loud explosions from the site continued overnight and on Tuesday morning.
Windows in many nearby residential blocks were smashed and at least two buildings were hit by shelling with local residents quoting civilian casualties among their neighbours.
Donetsk, which had about one million citizens before many fled during the weeks of fighting, is now the rebels main stronghold in eastern Ukraine.