The Politicized Tragedy
The MH17 incident holds heavy implications for the future of the Ukrainian crisis
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Cover Stories Series 2014> 31> Latest News
UPDATED: July 28, 2014
No Dutch Military Mission to Ukraine Crash Site: PM

The Dutch government decided not to send a military mission to the MH17 plane crash site in eastern Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said late Sunday after a cabinet meeting.

The Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia had been considering a joint operation to secure the site. However, with the fierce fighting between government troops and rebels in this area, a military mission would be too dangerous, according to the Dutch government.

"Over the past few days we thoroughly studied all options to bring the remains of the bodies as quickly and safely as possible from the disaster area to the Netherlands," Rutte told a press conference.

"Obtaining a military superiority by an international mission in this area would not be realistic, is our conclusion."

MH17, a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia, crashed near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

On Saturday, the last transportation of bodies of crash victims took place. The hearses carried 38 coffins with victims.

At the barracks in the central city of Hilversum, a total of 227 bodies were being identified.

"We have talked with our international partners to conclude that the real risk is that with such an international military mission we could become directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine," said Rutte.

"And that would immediately give an international dimension to the conflict and would cause further escalation. The success of the repatriation mission is therefore dependent on the prevention of escalation in the region."

Rutte stressed that the mission in its current form, with unarmed policemen, offered the best chance of success.

He said that an extra 60 Dutch police officers and 60 Ministry of Defense officers would be sent to Ukraine. The personnel will add to the 63 researchers and unarmed military police officers already operating in Ukraine to find the remaining bodies.

According to Rutte, the mission should be completed in three weeks.

Apart from the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia will also send additional police to the area.

(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2014)

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