Ukrainian soldiers walk away after carrying coffins with the remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash to a military plane during a ceremony at the airport of Kharkiv, Ukraine July 23, 2014.(AFP Photo/Evert-Jan Daniels)
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The first bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines plane that was downed over Ukraine were flown back Wednesday to the Netherlands where a national day of mourning has been declared.Members of the Dutch royal family were due to meet the two military transport planes carrying 40 bodies which will undergo identification before being handed over to families.The Netherlands lost 193 citizens on the doomed jet that had 298 passengers and crew on board when it was downed last Thursday in eastern Ukraine, in a region controlled by pro-Russian rebels.The rebels controlling the crash site released the bodies and handed over two black boxes to Malaysian officials only after intense international pressure.U.S. intelligence officials said Russian claims the Ukrainian government had shot down the plane were "not plausible" noting that the territory was clearly under rebel control.Just beyond the crash site, fighting raged on as government troops pushed on with an offensive to wrest control of east Ukraine's industrial heartland from the pro-Moscow separatists.
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