UNITED NATIONS, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - Two months and two days after the downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 aircraft over eastern Ukraine, UN official Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council on Friday that the access to the crash site remains problematic.
"While the ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine, thus far, is holding, contributing to a marked de-escalation on the ground, the conditions are still not conducive for investigators to have full and unfettered access to the site," Feltman said.
Presenting to the Security Council the Dutch Safety Board's September 9 preliminary report on the MH17 accident investigation, Feltman said that, "While the report is preliminary, it does assert that MH17 broke apart over Ukraine due to penetration by a large number of 'high energy objects from outside of the aircraft.'"
"We understand that the international investigators will again endeavor to access the crash site, both for repatriation of any further remains and to continue gathering physical evidence toward the completion of the technical report," Feltman told the Council.
Feltman said on Friday that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "once again calls on all those with influence on the situation to exert it immediately, so as to create a propitious security environment for investigators. Winter will soon arrive in Ukraine, at which time it will become almost impossible to retrieve further remains and to collect further evidence."
Feltman spoke at the Security Council meeting requested by Russia earlier in the week. Back on August 18, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said, "We will be asking under other matters for a briefing of the Secretariat on progress of implementation" of Security Council Resolution 2166, about MH17.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. The reason for the crash remains a debatable matter.
The investigation has been hampered by ongoing clashes between independence supporters and government forces in Ukraine's eastern regions. On September 5, the warring sides reached a ceasefire agreement during the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine held in Minsk. Though international observers reported the truce is generally holding, Kiev and the militia have been accusing each other of the ceasefire violations.