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Investigators Start Work At MH17 Crash Site

International experts started recovery work on Friday at the Malaysia Airlines MH17 wreckage site in east Ukraine despite clashes nearby between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

The group was the largest to reach the site since MH17 was shot down over rebel-held territory on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

Roads had for days been too dangerous to use because of heavy fighting, frustrating efforts to recover all the victims' remains.

The recovery mission included 70 experts from Australia and the Netherlands, as well as representatives of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"Recovery work starts immediately," the OSCE said on Twitter.

An advance team drove to the site from Donetsk on Thursday but only stayed for about an hour after the sides halted fighting along the route.

Agreement was later reached to extend the limited ceasefire around the route, making it a safe corridor.

Kiev has accused the rebels of planting mines in the region near the site, suggesting they want to hamper the investigation and hide evidence, but an OSCE official said no evidence had been found to back up the allegations.

Ukrainian officials say about 80 bodies have not been recovered from the wreckage of the Boeing 777. The 298 victims included 193 Dutch and 27 Australians, as well as 43 Malaysians.

(Reuters)