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Malaysia Airlines crash victims' remains reach Ukraine-held city

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    Protesters hold banner during a protest in front of Ukraine embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The protesters marched on the embassies of Ukraine and Russia in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, waving placards and demanding justice for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was shot down over Ukraine last week. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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  • Belgium-EU-Ukraine-Plane-1

    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, right, talks with Estonia's Foreign Minister Urmas Paet during an EU foreign ministers council at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. European Union foreign ministers are meeting to consider further sanctions against Russia because of the downing of a Malaysian jetliner, with Britain and some other countries demanding much tougher measures. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

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  • Belgium-EU-Ukraine-Plane-2

    Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, left, talks with Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, during the EU foreign ministers council at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. European Union foreign ministers are meeting to consider further sanctions against Russia because of the downing of the Malaysian jetliner, with Britain and some other countries demanding much tougher measures. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

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  • APTOPIX-Ukraine-Plane-3

    A refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 departs Kharkiv railway station, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The train carrying the remains of people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday on their way to the Netherlands, a journey which has been agonizingly slow for relatives of the victims. (AP Photo/ Sergei Chizavkov)

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  • Ukraine-Plane-54

    A toy is placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 21, 2014. Four days after Flight 17 was shot out of the sky, international investigators still have had only limited access to the crash site, hindered by pro-Russia fighters who control the verdant territory in eastern Ukraine. Outrage over the delays and the possible tampering of evidence at the site was building worldwide, especially in the Netherlands, where most of the victims were from. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Malaysia-Ukraine-Plane-6

    Russia Ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila Vorobyeva speaks during a press conference on a Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 tragedy at her embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Vorobyeva said that experts had confirmed that the black boxes of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine "were not tampered with." (AP Photo)

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  • Ukraine-Plane-55

    A pro-Russian fighter walks past a piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 21, 2014. Four days after Flight 17 was shot out of the sky, international investigators still have had only limited access to the crash site, hindered by pro-Russia fighters who control the verdant territory in eastern Ukraine. Outrage over the delays and the possible tampering of evidence at the site was building worldwide, especially in the Netherlands, where most of the victims were from. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Malaysia-Ukraine-Plane-7

    Protesters stage a rally in front of Ukraine embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Protesters marched on the Russian embassy and Ukraine embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, waving placards and demanding justice for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine last week. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Malaysia-Ukraine-Plane-8

    Banners are held up by protesters during a protest in front of Ukraine embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Protesters marched on the Russian embassy and Ukraine embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, waving placards and demanding justice for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine last week. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Belgium-EU-Ukraine-Plane-3

    Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, center, talks with Croatia's Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, left, and Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, during the EU foreign ministers council at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. European Union foreign ministers are meeting to consider further sanctions against Russia because of the downing of the Malaysian jetliner, with Britain and some other countries demanding much tougher measures. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Ukraine-Plane-56

    A man walks past a piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 21, 2014. Four days after Flight 17 was shot out of the sky, international investigators still have had only limited access to the crash site, hindered by pro-Russia fighters who control the verdant territory in eastern Ukraine. Outrage over the delays and the possible tampering of evidence at the site was building worldwide, especially in the Netherlands, where most of the victims were from. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

KHARKIV, Ukraine — The remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in territory held by the Ukrainian government today on their way to the Netherlands, after delays and haphazard treatment of the bodies that put pressure on European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels to impose tougher economic sanctions on Russia.

The crash site itself, in farmland held by the pro-Russian separatists who the West accuses of shooting down the plane, remained unsecured five days after the disaster — another source of frustration for officials around the world eager to establish the facts of the case.

After an overnight journey, a refrigerated train carrying the bodies pulled into a station in Kharkiv, a government-controlled city where Ukrainian authorities have set up their crash investigation center. Government spokesman Oleksander Kharchenko said Ukraine “will do our best” to send the bodies to the Netherlands today. Of the 298 people who died aboard the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight, 193 were Dutch citizens.

In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers were discussing whether to impose more sanctions in response to the disaster. Europe and the United States have imposed targeted economic sanctions against Russia for supporting Ukraine’s five-month insurgency that began after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by protesters in February.

The rebels control a swathe of territory in two eastern provinces, and have battled Ukrainian troops with heavy weapons including tanks and missile launchers that the West says came from Russia. Russia denies supporting the insurgency.

The sanctions so far have focused on individuals instead of entire sectors of the economy, though the EU was moving already to broaden them before the downing of the plane. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that the jet’s destruction on Thursday has drastically changed the situation, and that the Russians cannot expect continued access to European markets and capital if they continued to fuel a war against another European country.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius blamed “terrorists supplied by Moscow” for shooting down the airliner, killing all aboard. He said he hoped the EU will impose beefed-up sanctions on Russia. His call for an arms embargo was a direct challenge to France, which is building two warships for the Russian navy.

At the crash site near the village of Hrabove, a few rebel fighters accompanied observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The farmland where the wreckage is scattered was otherwise unguarded and unsecured. Even the red-and-white tape that had sealed off the fields had been torn away.

In some places, the smell of decay and flies suggested the presence of remains under the wreckage, and observers said Monday that not all bodies had been recovered.

About 70 villagers, most of them older women wearing headscarves, gathered across the road from the site to sing Ukrainian Orthodox hymns at a memorial service led by several black-robed priests.

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