August 1, 2014 - 16:38 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Dutch and Australian experts finally arrived at the site of downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in east Ukraine on Friday, Aug 1, after clashes between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian armed groups killed 14 combattants.
The 70 police investigators "will conduct search operations in several places at the crash site," a Dutch government statement said. Any remains found of the 298 people who died in the tragedy would be recovered, it added, according to AFP.
The mission is tasked with launching an international probe into the downing two weeks ago of the airliner.
Although the Dutch and Australian officers made it there Friday, Ukraine's months-long conflict still raged around the zone.
The Ukrainian military said an overnight ambush by insurgents in Shakhtarsk, a town 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the impact site, left 14 people dead, including at least 10 soldiers. The clash broke a brief lull that had reigned around the site.
"In total it is known that 14 people died but the bodies of four of them have not been identified and could be Ukrainian soldiers or terrorists," AFP quoted military spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky as saying.
The military said that it had made fresh gains by taking the village of Novyi Svit, some 25 kilometers southeast of Donetsk, and was waging operations to secure the volatile border with Russia.
Fighting also flared in Donetsk, which serves as the base for the international police and journalists trying to reach the MH17 site some 60 kilometers away, with local authorities saying one civilian died after a minibus taxi was hit by mortar shrapnel.
In Lugansk, officials said five civilians were killed and nine injured due to clashes over the past 24 hours.