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Malaysian authorities retrieve MH17 black boxes

GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 21: Personnel from the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry load the bodies of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 into a truck at the crash site on July 21, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine.
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 21: Personnel from the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry load the bodies of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 into a truck at the crash site on July 21, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine.
Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

The cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 are in the hands of a Malaysian delegation after they were stolen from the crash site of the Boeing 777-200 jetliner, Kyiv Post editor Christopher Miller said via Twitter on Monday. The recorders appeared intact, an official said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday had negotiated a deal to get the recorders back and to allow investigators safe access to the crash site, the airline known as MAS said.

In the five days since the disaster, air crash investigators have yet to arrive at the crash scene but an International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] investigation team arrived in Ukraine over the weekend, the organization confirmed on Monday.

The UN Security Council meanwhile called for an international investigation and demanded that armed groups allow “unfettered access” to the crash site.

"Malaysia Airlines was a clearly identified commercial jet. And it was shot down—in complete violation of international laws, standards and conventions," said the Director-General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association on Monday.

MH17 crashed near Ukraine’s industrial city of Donetsk on Thursday killing all 298 people on board including 193 from the Netherlands, 42 Malaysians, 27 Australians and one Canadian. The remains of 282 victims were transported on a refrigerated train on Monday from Torez, Ukraine near the crash site to Kharkiv, where they will then be moved to the Netherlands for autopsies.

Suspicions point to pro-Russian militants shooting the plane down using a Buk missile launcher-- one of the only weapons in the world capable of reaching the cruising altitude of a commercial jetliner.

A photo posted by the Financial Times over the weekend appears to show shrapnel damage on a piece of wreckage which may prove that MH17 was shot down by a rogue missile.

“The Kremlin may not have pulled the trigger, but it certainly loaded the gun and put it in the murderer’s hand,” said Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Monday.

“I am very, very disturbed by the reports of the careless, even callous, way in which the crash site has been treated,” he added after reports of looting at the crash site.

ICAO President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu condemned the use of weapons against civil aviation on Friday: “ICAO strongly condemns the use of weapons against international civil aviation,” he said. “This tragic action against the civilian passengers and crew of MAS Flight MH17 is wholly incompatible with the principles of the Convention.

“This is a painstaking process and the collaboration of all concerned with the international team of investigators, notably where access to all evidence and data is concerned, will be greatly appreciated.”