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Ukraine says all MH17 bodies to go to Kharkiv then Netherlands

Ukraine on Monday said all the bodies of victims from the downed Malaysia Airlines jet MH17 will be taken to the city of Kharkiv, and then Netherlands.

KIEV: Ukraine on Monday said all the bodies of victims from the downed Malaysia Airlines jet will be taken to the city of Kharkiv, before they are transferred to the Netherlands.

"All the bodies have been loaded onto a special train in refrigerated wagons and we expect after 19:00 pm (1700 GMT) the train will set off for Kharkiv," Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said at a news conference. "All the bodies will be taken to the Netherlands."

The bodies have been kept in rail wagons at a train station in Torez, in the rebel-held region of east Ukraine. Kharkiv has remained firmly in Kiev's hands amid unrest.

Ukraine earlier on Monday agreed that the Dutch should lead the investigation into the downing of flight MH17 in east Ukraine, and added it was ready to “send all bodies to Amsterdam”.

Dutch investigators on Monday also inspected the rail wagons. 

In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the priority is to move the bodies to Kiev-controlled territory.

"The first aim is to get the trains out and let them go to Ukrainian-controlled territory, preferably Kharkiv," Rutte said.

"The separatists have said that international observers must be present when the train leaves... the Dutch experts are international observers... they can fulfill that role," Rutte added.

MH17 was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was reportedly shot down while flying over Ukraine airspace, killing 298 people on board. 193 of the victims were Dutch.

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