Ukraine rebels hand over black boxes from MH17 flight to Malaysian officials

Nassos Stylianou
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A floral tribute to the victims of flight MH17 outside Amsterdam airport (Source: Getty)

Pro-Russian militants have handed over the two black boxes from the downed MH17 aircraft to Malaysian officials.

After an agreement with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday evening, separatist leader Aleksander Borodai signed them over to the Malaysian experts at a meeting in the eastern Ukranian city of Donetsk.

A number of reporters were present as the flight data recorders exchanged hands at past 1.10am local time.

Among others, journalists from the Kyiv Post, the Guardian and Buzzfeed posted images and tweets online as events unfolded.

Reuters was reporting that the head of the Malaysian delegation present said that the recorders were "in good condition".

The so-called 'black boxes', which are in fact orange, are not expected to help identify how the jet was downed, leading to the death of all 298 people on board, but may offer other important clues into the tragedy.

Earlier on Monday, a train carrying the remains of the victims the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight reportedly left the crash site heading to Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv. The bodies would later be flown to the Netherlands and handed over to the Dutch authorities.

All eyes will be on the EU's foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. Undoubtedly the crisis between Russia and the West will be at the top of the agenda, with the key question whether or not the EU will step up sanctions against the Kremlin and the likely implication of any decision.

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