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A Dutch air force transport plane carrying the first 16 coffins with the remains of victims of the downed Malaysian airliner took off on Wednesday from an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv for the Netherlands. Honorary guards placed wooden coffins on the plane after a short and somber ceremony held on the tarmac before it took off. All 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 perished when it was brought down last Thursday over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev is struggling to quell a pro-Russian separatist rebellion. Russia has blamed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for the crash because he refused to extend a ceasefire with the separatist fighters.
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, bringing some consolation to grieving relatives who still must wait for positive identifications and answers about who caused the disaster.