Dutch Prime Minister Wants 'Several Hundred' Troops at MH17 Site

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced a potential military mission, which could add several hundred soldiers from around the world to rebel-occupied eastern Ukraine. 

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said the Netherlands is working with several nations, including Australia, to send a military mission to eastern Ukraine. The troops would be on the ground at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and would number in the several hundreds. A decision about sending this mission will likely be made this weekend.

MH17 crashed in an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists, who control the site and have made the investigation process difficult, at times blocking investigators from entering altogether. There are also reports of the rebels tampering with evidence and looting belongings.

Outside military forces would allow the site to finally be secured and allow investigators to complete their work. Late on Thursday, the Dutch government began the first step towards the military mission, a letter of notification to parliament.

Rutte did note that the mission must proceed carefully, as both Russia and the pro-Russian separatists could view the outside soldiers as hostile. "We must weigh the geopolitical ramifications. You can't be active there when the Russians don't agree." 

Currently, both the Netherlands and Australia have prepared policemen to visit the scene, though they will be unarmed.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.