Security Council backing may not be enough for MH17 victims

DESPITE some getting support from the United Nations Security Council for a full and frank investigation into the shooting down of MH17, it could still be weeks before the bodies of 38 Australians are returned.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday he was increasingly optimistic an investigation team will be given access to the crash site in eastern Ukraine soon.

His optimism follows Foreign Minister Julia Bishop securing the UNSC backing for an international investigation to be completed, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's promise to provide unfettered access.

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The investigation was also given a further boost on Tuesday when Russia-linked rebel forces allowed a train carrying 280 of the bodies through, with the train expected to arrive in Koskov, a town controlled by the Ukraine Government.

An Australian C-17 Hercules is on the way to the Netherlands with forensic experts and Australian Federal Police on board to help pick up bodies from Koskov and deliver them to the Dutch nation for identification.

Mr Abbott also confirmed on Tuesday that Australian authorities had begun taking DNA samples from the families of some of the victims to help identify remains before they are returned.

However, it remains to be seen how and when an investigation proper can begin, after Mr Abbott labelled interference in the crash site "evidence tampering on an industrial scale".

He said there was evidence heavy equipment had been entering the crash site area, as well as unidentified people interfering with remains and debris littered across the area.

Mr Abbott also said he was still waiting on legal advice as to whether to declare the shooting down of MH17 as a terrorist act, triggering potential funding for families of victims killed.

But he said the government would be "erring on the side of generosity" when it came to offering the families of victims monetary compensation for their loss.

Topics:  editors picks mh17 tony abbott un united nations

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