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MH17 Latest: Rebels Hand Over Bodies, Black Boxes

Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine turn over black boxes to Malaysian delegation, and allow bodies to reach Kharkiv.
Posted at 9:20 AM, Jul 22, 2014

​On Monday night —a full five days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine— the victims' remains were finally allowed to leave the crash site. (Via Getty Images)

A train carrying the bodies left the site overnight and arrived in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv Tuesday morning. (Via CNN)

The New York Times reports the train ride took 17 hours to get to Kharkiv carrying what Ukranian officials said was "nearly all of the bodies," although it is unclear exactly how many made it to Kharkiv. 

There had been fears that the pro-Russian rebels who controlled the crash-site could block the train in Donetsk, on the way to Kharkiv. (Via Euronews)

Instead the separatist rebels seemed to finally cave to international pressure, and not just in relation to the bodies. 

"Anti-government fighters have handed over the black boxes from the downed plane to Malaysian experts in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk." (Via RT)

In what The Guardian described as, "a surreal night-time ceremony" in Donestk on Monday, rebel leader Alexander Borodai turned over the flight recorders to a Malaysian representative, in front of visibly armed guards. 

But even with the flight recorders recovered and turned over to international investigators, some doubt they will reveal very much information about the crash. 

An aviation consultant told ABC, "For the most part, what will be gleaned from the boxes, to include the cockpit voice recordings, will be important only to the filling in the details of the story."

Others say the crash-site itself is much more important.

"You'd be able to identify the source of the missile, so the wreckage is really the key piece." (Via Fox News)

That's the same crash-site that has reportedly been extensively looted, with Ukranian officials alleging victims credit cards and luggage have been taken. (Via ABC Australia)

President Obama echoed those accusations in a statement at the White House Monday. (Via The White House)

"The separatists are removing evidence from the crash-site."

As for the bodies of the victims: they're expected to be flown from Kharkiv to the Netherlands in a Dutch Hercules transport plane on Wednesday.