Kirovske: Dutch and Australian experts gathered more remains from the crash site of downed flight MH17 in east Ukraine, as they scrambled to make up for lost time amid deadly clashes between government troops and pro-Russian rebels.
Seventy police investigators, by far the largest number to reach the location so far finally managed to comb the scattered wreckage in the fields where the Malaysia Airlines plane was downed two weeks ago killing all 298 people on board.
More than 220 coffins have been sent back to the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the July 17 crash, but efforts to recover more remains left at the site have been hampered by clashes between government troops and separatist fighters around the insurgent-controlled territory.
"We are happy that we can make sure that these remains can now be sent. We hope that this can bring comfort to the bereaved. It is a relief that our people are now at work," said Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the Dutch police official sent to Ukraine to head up the mission there.
Despite the international team managing to begin work at the site the fighting that had impeded their probe continued to rage across eastern Ukraine today.
The Ukrainian military said an overnight ambush by insurgents in Shakhtarsk, a town 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the main impact site, left 14 people dead, including at least 10 soldiers.
Thirteen more soldiers were injured and another 11 were missing as fighting wore on, the military said.
The clash broke a brief lull during a one-day ceasefire from the Ukrainian authorities.
A team some 12 kilometres from the MH17 site heard the sound of tank fire and saw smoke rising from the direction of Shakhtarsk.
Both rebels and Kiev have vowed to keep open an access corridor to the crash site, while Ukraine`s army has pledged not to fight in the immediate vicinity.
Elsewhere around the region though, government forces relaunched their offensive to oust the separatists, after a "day of quiet" brought a brief pause to over three months of fighting that has cost the lives of more than 1,100 people on the ground.