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Australia sends military, police to MH17 crash site

Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS

Canberra, July 25 : Australian military personnel along with armed police will be deployed to secure the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday.

Abbott said that 90 Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers were in Europe now and 100 more would be leaving Friday, Xinhua reported.

He said an agreement with the Ukrainian government was to be finalised soon which would allow Australian police to assist in the investigation around the MH17 crash site and secure the area.

Abbott said the Australian deployment was focused on bringing "our people home" and all Australia wanted to do "is claim our dead and to bring them back". Twenty seven Australians were killed in the crash.

He said Australia did not want to get involved in European politics and most of the AFP officers would not be armed.

Abbott said that he had spoken to US President Barack Obama, who supported the plan. He added that it was not a Washington-led mission, but a mission led by the countries whose citizens had been killed.

The prime minister said he had spoken twice to Russian President Vladimir Putin this week and he was "full of sympathy, as you would expect from another human being" about the Australian families affected by the crash.

Flight MH17, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed after being hit by a missile in Ukraine near the Russian border July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.

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