Dutch premier halts search for Ukraine victims

A pro-Russian rebel, left, guards as Australian, Malaysian and Dutch investigators examine the area of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Rossipne, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. The West has accused Russia of most likely providing the insurgents with surface-to-air missiles that may have been used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over rebel-held territory on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.
A pro-Russian rebel, left, guards as Australian, Malaysian and Dutch investigators examine the area of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Rossipne, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. The West has accused Russia of most likely providing the insurgents with surface-to-air missiles that may have been used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over rebel-held territory on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. (AP Photo)

AMSTERDAM (AP) – The Netherlands’ prime minister has called a halt to the search for remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, saying it is too dangerous to continue.

At a press conference in The Hague Wednesday, Mark Rutte praised the effort of the recovery mission so far, and promised victims’ families the search would resume at some time in the future.

Flight 17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board. Around 228 coffins have been returned to the Netherlands.

Rutte also said that information from a Ukrainian military doctor who had overseen operations in the days immediately following the crash “has changed the recovery team’s perception of an earlier effort undertaken by local authorities.”

“There was an intensive search in the area with 800 volunteers,” he said.

The Dutch led-international recovery team that arrived in the area later has not found a large number of human remains.

He said that it appears “fortunately that more was done after the disaster than we thought until now.”

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