As negotiations continue on international access to the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine, the separatist rebels controlling the area, who have been accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane, say they have recovered the aircraft’s black boxes and will hand them over to the International Civil Aviation Organization. “Some items, presumably the black boxes, were found, and they have been delivered to Donetsk and they are under our control,” Aleksander Borodai, prime minister of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic, said in a news conference.
Meanwhile, confusion at the crash site continued on Sunday, as Agence France Presse reports, “it was immediately not clear Sunday if the rebels and the Ukrainian government were working together or at odds with each other on recovering the bodies – and from their comments, many officials didn’t appear to know either.” The rebel’s management of the crash site and the restricted, disjointed effort to investigate the scene has been a source of contention and frustration. The separatists have been criticized for their handling of the hundreds of bodies at the scene and Sunday’s efforts were similarly scrutinized as the remains of some 196 people were “loaded on to refrigerated rail wagons, to be taken to an unknown destination,” the BBC reports. “The bodies will go nowhere until experts arrive,” Borodai said.
“The indiscipline and chaos of the last two days have been replaced by the robust presence of former riot policemen who now form a cordon around the central area of the crash site,” the BBC correspondent in region writes. “There is still no sign of the fully fledged independent investigation which is being demanded by the international community.” “Borodai said he was expecting a team of 12 Malaysian experts and that he was disappointed at how long they had taken to arrive,” the Associated Press reports. “He insisted that rebels had not interfered with the crash investigation, despite reports to the contrary by international monitors and journalists at the crash site.”