News National Federal Police sent to MH17 crash site
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Federal Police sent to MH17 crash site

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Australia Federal Police officers are being deployed to the MH17 crash site in Ukraine as part of a Dutch-led humanitarian mission.

The officers will be unarmed even though Prime Minister Tony Abbott admits it will be a risky mission.

“Our objective is to get in, get cracking and to get out,” he told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

The police-led mission will search for unrecovered bodies and remains and conduct a forensic examination of the crash site.

So far there 170 AFP officers in Ukraine with more on the way.

Eleven officers are at the crash site now and more will be sent there in coming days, Mr Abbott said.

The mission will stay as long as possible to do a professional job, but it should take no longer than two to three weeks.

“We don’t want to be there any longer than is absolutely necessary,” Mr Abbott said.

The prime minister stressed the mission had “absolutely nothing” to do with the politics of eastern Europe.

“Others can get involved if they wish … our whole and sole purpose is to claim our dead and bring them home,” he said.

The prime minister said there had been a “full and frank” discussion with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Donetsk on Saturday about allowing the team to conduct its work.

Mr Abbott said while “local people” had guaranteed the team’s security, it did not mean they were safe under all circumstances.

“Frankly, we need to be prepared to take some risks in order to do the right thing by our dead and by their grieving families,” he said.

A group of AFP officers are at the site already but they’ve been largely involved in observing and taking photographs.

The next stage would involve recovering human remains and having them repatriated.

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