AFP officers on stand-by to secure MH17 crash site

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has put 50 Australian Federal Police on stand by to lead operations to secure the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra today the 50 police officers were in London on a "contingency", waiting for an international security force to be convened to secure the site.

The officers, bring the number of Australian authorities in Europe for operation to 200 staff, including defence, air crash investigators, victim identification experts and others.

While he said he had the support of the Ukrainian Government, the site remains under the control of Russian rebels, who Mr Abbott said had a vested interest in preventing a full investigation of the shooting down of the aircraft.

The Australian Government remains the only national government to have put police on standby for an on-ground operation to secure the site.

While Mr Abbott said the government had other nation's support for the investigation, he did not clarify whether any other nations had offered forces or troops to help with the operation to secure the site.

He described the current status on the ground as "permissive", but that it was unacceptable for the crash site to be under rebel control.

However, asked whether any other governments had provided assurances they would help with the operation to secure the 50kmsq area, he did not name any specific nations.


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