Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Monday the country is prepared to let Dutch authorities take over the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
The deal to let the Dutch continue the investigation is an effort to end the standoff between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatist groups over who can access the crash site.
“We are responding to the request of our Dutch partners. They launched the request. The Dutch people suffered the most,” Mr. Yatsenyuk said Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports. “This is the right thing to do. This is a humanitarian gesture. It will add more independence to the investigation.”
Dutch investigators began arriving in Eastern Ukraine on Monday, USA Today reports, to begin the grim task of inspecting the bodies of victims who have been moved to refrigerated train cars by the separatists.
The crashed flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which the U.S. says was shot down by Ukrainian rebels using weapons provided by Russia, left 298 people dead on Thursday, the majority of whom were from the Netherlands. Since the crash, the rebels who control the area have limited government access to the crash site for an official investigation. Over the weekend, rebel forces moved bodies and other evidence from the crash site.
The Dutch Safety Board told the WSJ Monday they were still in the process of discussing taking over the investigation. Experts from across the globe are also in the country with hopes of investigating the crash.