KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A train carrying the remains of people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Wednesday on their way to the Netherlands, a journey which has been agonizingly slow for relatives of the victims.
An AP reporter saw the train Tuesday as it pulled into a station in Kharkiv, a government-controlled city where Ukrainian authorities have set up their crash investigation center.
For many, it is the next stop on their journey home to the Netherlands. Of the 298 who died, 193 were Dutch citizens.
Oleksander Kharchenko, spokesman for the state committee on the crash, said “we will do our best” to send the bodies to the Netherlands on Tuesday. Ukraine has agreed to send remains of all the victims there for identification and forensic investigation.
The train stopped overnight in the contested city of Donetsk but left around 3 a.m., the Ukrainian emergency services ministry said.
In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers were meeting to decide how to react to the disaster.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius blamed “terrorists supplied by Moscow” for the airliner’s destruction and the deaths of everyone aboard, and said he hoped the EU will impose beefed-up sanctions on President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Linkevicius called for an arms embargo — a direct challenge to France, which is building two warships for the Russian navy.
So far, EU sanctions against Russia and its supporters in Ukraine have been relatively mild, though the EU was moving already to broaden them before the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine last Thursday. A summit meeting of the leaders of EU’s 28 member states the previous day had instructed the ministers to draft language that could allow punitive measures against Russian businesses and oligarchs, hitting closer to Putin’s inner circle than before.
The U.S. has said the jet was hit by a missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Moscow insurgents.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday the jet’s destruction has drastically changed the situation for the EU, and that the Russians cannot expect continued access to European markets and capital if they continued to fuel a war against another European country.