MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – The deputy head of Russia’s aviation agency, Oleg Storchevoi, and a group of aviation experts have arrived in Kiev to participate in the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crash site in eastern Ukraine.
Russian inspectors plan on reaching the crash site later on Thursday, Rosaviatsiya, Russia’s civil aviation authority, said.
“Today, the Russian [group] will attempt to arrive in the region of the downed Boeing-777 and study the aircraft’s [debris] at the site with specialists from the international commission for investigations,” Rosaviatsiya said in a statement.
The Malaysian plane with 298 people on board, including 85 children, came down on July 17 near the town of Torez in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. There were no survivors.
International inspectors from Australia and the Netherlands, as well as independent monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), have been unable to investigate the crash, citing security concerns after fighting in the area intensified earlier this month.
After their three failed attempts, the contingent of Western law enforcement officers hoped to venture into the area on Tuesday night, but a shattered truce between the warring parties botched the effort.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott expressed concern over the armed conflict around the crash site, saying, “It's not just the separatists, it’s the Ukrainian government as well." His comment echoed Russia’s continued calls on Ukrainian authorities to call off their military offensive on the nearby city of Donetsk.