MH17: Top developments today

Deputy head of the OSCE mission Alexander Hug looks at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Photo / AP
Deputy head of the OSCE mission Alexander Hug looks at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Photo / AP

Today's major developments in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 tragedy in Ukraine:

No quick answers, crash investigator warns

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The head of Australia's transport safety body has warned there will be no quick answers to the downing of MH17, saying it could take up to a year to complete an investigation.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau dispatched two senior investigators to Kiev on Monday to assist an international inquiry into the disaster.

But chief commissioner Martin Dolan dampened expectations of a speedy determination. "We normally say as investigators it can take up to a year to get a firm result," he told reporters at Canberra airport.

"It's quite possible that there will be no quick response to this." Mr Dolan said it was "disappointing and upsetting" to see Russian-backed rebels tampering with evidence at the crash site in eastern Ukraine, which has been a target of international condemnation since last week's crash.


Two black boxes recovered: reports

The black boxes from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have been recovered by pro-Russian separatists, a rebel leader says.

The BBC reported that Alexander Borodai said the devices had been taken to Donetsk, the biggest rebel-held city in the east.

ABC news reported Borodai as saying: "Jet parts resembling the black boxes were discovered at the crash site."

The rebel leader in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic added they would be handed over to "international experts if they arrive".
Watch: Rebels say black boxes will be returned

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Intercepted calls genuine - US embassy

Alleged intercepted phone conversations released by Ukraine's security service of pro-Russian rebels discussing how they shot down Malaysian airliner MH17 are genuine, the US embassy in Kiev says.

Ukraine's SBU security agency on Thursday released recordings of what it claimed were phone talks involving rebels and a Russian military intelligence officer admitting that they had hit the passenger jet after mistaking it for a military aircraft.

The recordings were presented as key evidence to back up Kiev's claims that rebels - supported by Russia - downed the jet while the separatists accused Ukraine's army of being responsible.

"Audio data provided to the press by the Ukrainian security service was evaluated by Intelligence Community analysts who confirmed these were authentic conversations between known separatist leaders," the US embassy in Ukraine said in a statement.

Putin vows to help find black boxes

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte he will help retrieve bodies and black boxes from the Ukrainian rebel-held crash site of flight MH17.

Putin, who is believed to exert influence on the pro-Russia rebels, made the promise in his third conversation with Rutte since Thursday's crash, the Dutch government press service RVD said, amid growing international anger over the stranded bodies.

"Besides allowing unrestricted access to the crash site, the conversation focused on practical matters, namely the departure of the train that has many bodies and the handing over of the black boxes," a spokeswoman for the government press service RVD told AFP, asking not to be named.

"On both points Putin promised his full co-operation," the spokesman said.


Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev after a moment of silence mourning the victims killed in the Malaysia. Photo AP

Anger as journalist searches MH17 luggage

British broadcaster Sky News has apologised after one of its presenters searched through luggage at the crash site of downed flight MH17 live on air.

In a news broadcast on Sunday, presenter Colin Brazier was shown rooting through personal belongings in an opened suitcase at the site, picking up a set of keys before saying: "We shouldn't really be doing this."

The footage was greeted with anger on social media, including calls for Brazier to be sacked.

BBC presenter Jacqui Oatley tweeted that she was "astonished" while Joe Watson, a professor of Mass Media at Baker University described it as a "horrible moment for journalism".

"Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims' bags," a Sky News spokesperson said.

"Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused."


Sky News presenter Colin Brazier reaches into the luggage of a MH17 victim at the crash scene, in a You Tube screen grab.

MH17 bodies loaded onto train by rebels

The 192 bodies found after the Flight MH17 plane crash, have been bundled into black body bags and unceremoniously loaded into large refrigerated train cars, bound, it is understood, for the rebel heartland.

Rebel leader Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, claims that he has the bodies - which have been decomposing since Thursday - held in the train cars in the rebel-held city of Torez, 15 kilometres from the crash site.

Mr Borodai has given the unexpected explanation of removing the bodies from the site of the crash, where they have been lying rotting and exposed to the baking Ukrainian heat, "out of respect for the families," and because "it is becoming inhumane in these conditions".

"We couldn't wait any longer because of the heat and also because there are many dogs and wild animals in the zone," he told reporters, a statement that jars with reports from the crash site of the rebels blocking investigations and even allowing the bodies to be looted.

The bodies were reportedly moved by Ukraine's emergency services who were working for the rebels under duress on Sunday.

Watch: Officials fear MH17 site tampered by rebels

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