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More Human Remains Recovered At MH17 Crash Site Amid Fighting

Australian and Dutch investigators examine a piece of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near Donetsk on August 1.
Australian and Dutch investigators examine a piece of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near Donetsk on August 1.
By RFE/RL

International experts using sniffer dogs have recovered more human remains and personal belongings at the Malaysia Airlines wreckage site in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

The head of an international recovery mission, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, said on August 2 that 70 Dutch and Australian investigators were able to reach the site for the second consecutive day, despite clashes between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces nearby.

All 298 people on board the Malaysian Airlines plane died in the July 17 crash. Most of them were Dutch nationals.

Remains are being transferred by refrigerated truck to a facility in Kharkiv. They will then be sent to the Netherlands.

More than 220 coffins have already been sent back.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council (RNBO) claimed pro-government forces have captured two key towns in the east of the country.

Speaking at a news conference on August 2, Andriy Lysenko said Kyiv's troops "liberated" the towns of Krasnohorovka and Staromikhajlivka on the edge of the city of Donetsk.

On the same day, a map issued by the RNBO of the situation in eastern Ukraine appeared to show that the territory held by the Donetsk-based separatists had been cut off from other rebels in the Luhansk region.

Lysenko also said Kyiv has received reports of Russian forces gathering at areas some five kilometers from Ukraine's eastern border.

Lysenko said those reports included claims that farmers in Russian areas along Ukraine's border were instructed to gather their harvests by August 3.

The Donetsk mayor's office on August 2  confirmed clashes in the Biryuzova district.

The Luhansk city council said all electricity and water to the city had been cut off.

With reporting by dpa, AP, UNIAN, and Interfax

NOTE: This story has been updated to include clarification of the situation in eastern Ukraine

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