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Armed mission to MH-17 crash site "not realistic": Dutch PM

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks at a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)

THE HAGUE: An international military mission to secure the MH17 crash site in rebel-held Ukraine is currently "unrealistic," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Sunday.

"Getting the military upper hand for an international mission in this area is, according to our conclusion, not realistic," Rutte told journalists in The Hague, pointing to the presence of heavily armed separatists and the proximity of the Russian border.

"Not even if we choose for a massive military committment, even then getting the military upper hand is not realistic," Rutte said amid discussions about how to secure the site so remaining bodies can be removed and crash investigators get to work.

Rutte said that "all options" were being looked at for securing the site, and that the security situation was being assessed on a daily baisis.

Heavy shelling around the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17 on Sunday forced Dutch and Australian police to scrap a planned trip there.

The unarmed contingent of law enforcement officers was due to head to the location 10 days after the disaster following a deal with rebels aimed at allowing a long-delayed probe to go ahead.

But international observers overseeing the trip had to abruptly ditch their plans after clashes shattered a supposed truce between government forces and insurgents in the area around the site, where some remains of the 298 victims still lie decomposing under the summer sun.

Over 200 bodies have been sent to the Netherlands for identification. The Netherlands lost 193 citizens on the flight, and is in charge of the investigation into the crash.

 

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