(Adds quote, details, official comment)
By Thomas Escritt and Harro Ten Wolde
AMSTERDAM, July 21 The bodies of some of the 298
people who were killed in the downing of a Malaysian airliner in
eastern Ukraine last week are being transported to the
Netherlands, the Dutch prime minister said on Monday.
Mark Rutte told a news conference that a train carrying
around 200 body bags was on its way to Donetsk, from where the
bodies can be taken back to the Netherlands to be identified.
"The train is going to Donetsk, which is held by rebels, and
the aim is that it will continue to the final destination
Kharkhiv. This will take many hours," Rutte said. "In Kharkhiv,
we are ready to pick up the bodies."
The bodies of the victims, 193 of whom were Dutch, had been
lying strewn across the fields where they fell for more than
four days as Moscow-backed rebels argued with investigators and
the Ukrainian and western govrernments over who should have
access to them.
The Dutch government is taking the lead in identifying the
victims and has said it wants to do the forensic examination in
the Netherlands. But Rutte warned the process would not be a
"It last 10 or 12 hours just to get to Kharkhiv, and then
you have technical problems making sure the bodies get to the
Netherlands as quickly as possible," he said.
"The logistics are very difficult. It's going to be a long
night," said a western European official familiar with the
(Reporting By Thomas Escritt, Editing by Angus MacSwan)