Pro-Russian separatists handed over two black boxes recovered from the crash site of doomed flight MH17 to Malaysian authorities early on Tuesday morning.
Photos were posted on social media to document the handover.
• Where is the missile launcher that brought down MH17?
• GALLERY Aerial images of crash site revealed
• EXPLAINED What the UN vote means for MH17 investigation
• Villager: ‘Body fell through my roof’
The self-proclaimed Prime Minister Alexander Borodai of the Donetsk People’s Republic – the rebel stronghold – also signed a memorandum of agreement with a Malaysian representative.
The handover was reportedly a result of a phone conversation between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the rebel leader.
Malaysia “would like to convey our sincere appreciation to His Excellency Mr Borodai for obeying our request,” a Malaysian government spokesperson is reported as saying by a Buzzfeed journalist at the scene.
This marks a breakthrough after days of tense standoff with the rebels, who have also released the bodies of over half of the victims, which are being held in four refrigerated train carriages.
The rebels also announced a ceasefire within a 10km radius around the crash site to allow international investigators to safely access the vast area where the jet was downed.
— max seddon (@maxseddon) July 21, 2014