Explosions force MH17 forensics team to turn back

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Dutch and Australian forensic investigators on their way to the MH17 crash site had to turn back, after explosions in the area.

Justice ministry spokeswoman Sentina van der Meer told AFP: “They have returned in the direction of Donetsk.

“Explosions were heard, and they were warned by the locals.”

The Ukrainian military earlier said its forces were battling pro-Russian rebels for control of several eastern Ukrainian towns around the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane.

Ukrainian troops “had entered” the towns of Shakhtarsk and Torez and “battles were continuing for the complete liberation” of the towns of Pervomaysk and Snizhne, the press office for the military operation against the insurgents said.

Remains exposed

A joint Dutch and Australian forensics team had left from rebel stronghold Donetsk on early Monday in a fresh bid to reach the crash site, where some remains of victims remain exposed to the elements.

A visit scheduled on Sunday was cancelled after heavy bombardments rocked towns nearby.