Follow Christiane on social media:

On Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Amanpour producers on Twitter

What time is Amanpour on CNN?

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Difficult road ahead for MH17 investigators

July 31st, 2014
02:45 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As Australian and other investigators reach the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine for the first time in more than a week, that country’s foreign minister laid out the difficult task ahead.

For one, there could be as many as 80 bodies still at the crash site, Julie Bishop told CNN’s Jim Clancy, in for Christiane Amanpour.

“Our first priority is to locate bodies and remains, remembering this is two weeks since this plane was shot down,” she said. “We know how many body bags were transferred from Kharkiv to the Netherlands, but we don't know how many bodies or remains are still on the site.”

“We won't know until our investigative teams are on the site and combing the crash site for remains. And that's the grisly and sobering task that they must undertake from now on.”

“We need to be on the site for probably weeks.”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has been monitoring Ukraine’s conflict for months now, and is leading the MH17 investigative team, has tried for several days to access the crash site only to be turned back by pro-Russian separatists and fighting.

On Thursday, Bishop said, the team took an “alternative route” that got them to the crash site in a few hours.

“Our team had to negotiate checkpoints all along this route. We'll need to do that day by day. It's a very dangerous situation.”

Once the priority of recovering bodies is complete, she said, “there will be important parts of the airplane wreckage that we hope can be taken off the site and taken away from Ukraine for independent evaluation.”


The Ukrainian government on Thursday said it had ratified an agreement to allow Dutch and Australian investigators to access the crash site, and even travel with armed personnel if necessary.

Bishop said that while the agreement was necessary to allow access for equipment like GPS, cameras, and “sniffer dogs,” Australia does not believe it will need to use armed guards.

“We will not be taking arms onto the site because this is a police-led humanitarian mission. We are getting security from the Ukraine military, from the separatists, and this is being coordinated by OSCE.”

Indeed, she said, using only unarmed police to provide security for investigators was a condition set by pro-Russian separatists.

Australia has not negotiated directly with the separatists, she said; only via the OSCE.


Unlike the United States and European Union, Australia did not impose a new round of sector-wide sanctions against Russia this week.

Australia does not want to “be drawn into the geopolitical situation at present until we complete our humanitarian mission,” Bishop said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is “not entering into the … rights and wrongs of it at this point.”

“What he's trying to do is retrieve the bodies of the 38 Australian residents that were killed on that flight. We owe it to the families. And we won't rest until we've got their bodies home.”

“Then we can consider the consequences of the investigation and the results of the investigation once they're known.”


“It is unthinkable,” Bishop said, “that we should allow those responsible for this to get away with it.”

For that reason, Australia and the Netherlands – from which 38 and 196 people were killed, respectively – “are absolutely determined to not only retrieve the bodies and the remains and bring them home to their loved ones, but also to carry out a thorough, independent, impartial investigation to find those culpable and to hold them to account.”

Clancy asked how it would be possible to punish those responsible, but Bishop would not specify, saying only that the focus for now is on gathering evidence.

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Western Propaganda

    CNN propaganda doesn't report how Ukrainian Nazi occupation forces are being decimated in Novorossia

    Remember Odessa, Slaviansk, Lugansk

    July 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  2. Western Propaganda

    Gorlovka after Ukrainian artillery strike

    Ukrainian nazis and their western puppeteers have innocent blood on their hands.

    July 31, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  3. Kirkar Riba

    It seems like a mistaken attack. But they must compensate as per established rules.

    August 1, 2014 at 1:05 am | Reply
    • Erm...

      This is not a mistake. This happens in every city Ukrainians come within artillery range to. Civilian housing is deliberately targeted to create unbearable conditions and force surrender. This is a deliberate campaign of civilian blood.

      August 1, 2014 at 7:21 am | Reply
  4. kompotnenado

    Tell me please dull yankee, where is flight control audio record? They couldn't fake it for two week? It is not a case. Simply Putin also have had it, and yankee knows this.

    August 1, 2014 at 2:54 am | Reply
  5. Western Propaganda

    Ukronazi murderous march in Popasnaya

    Organized and sponsored by the West.

    August 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Reply

    The U.K. (David Cameron) and the U.S. (Barrack Obama) have involved the E.U. in the dirtiest lie and execrable cover up since the Nazi and Soviet regimes using their propaganda weapon of deceit and deception to draw attention away from the fact that the junta in Kiev was directly guilty of shooting down MH17. The Ukrainian air traffic controllers rerouted Malaysia Airlines and instructed the pilots to drop down 3,000 ft from 33,000ft to 30,000ft. The palaver and rigmarole of sanction on state managed press and media is one big hatched up conspiratorial deception and diversionary tactics. Let's hope the ISASI can do their job without American and British governments' infiltration and corruption.

    September 8, 2014 at 10:37 am | Reply
  7. Anderson Alwazan

    Yes, this is a Good one

    December 17, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  8. Dahlia Saulsbury

    if you always use your swimming pools, you will need to use some quality pool cleaner a lot-

    December 20, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  9. earn passive income in autopilot

    Earn 100 commissions of up to 900+ dollars DAILY. 90 Second Set Up – Beta Tested Proven 24-7 AUTOPILOT Income – 100 New Income System Never Before Seen. More details:

    December 26, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  10. Willard Warmath

    Is it safe? . Safer than myspace?. Can you use myspace layouts for it?. How old do you how to be to have one?. . Please answer as many as possible . Thanx :].

    January 6, 2021 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  11. Evette Earman

    hi!,I really like your writing so so much! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra about your article on AOL? I require an expert in this area to unravel my problem. Maybe that's you! Taking a look forward to look you.

    January 11, 2021 at 1:19 am | Reply
  12. Mary Lamke

    Thank you for taking the time to line all this out for people. This particular article was in fact really helpful if you ask me.

    January 11, 2021 at 10:33 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.