Australia has sent 50 police to London in anticipation of deploying them to Ukraine to secure the Malaysian plane crash site as part of a potential United Nations team that is under consideration, the Australian prime minister said Thursday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he accepted "there is potential for difficulty" in deploying police in an area of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists who are suspected to have shot down the airliner.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was traveling with her Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans to Kiev to seek a memorandum of understanding with the Ukraine government that will allow international police to secure the crash site, Abbott said.
He said that the task of the international police team would be to ensure a full and thorough search of the site so that all victims' remains were recovered and sent to the Netherlands for identification.
The search would also gather evidence for a criminal investigation headed by the Netherlands.
Abbott said he had personally spoken overnight with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and President Vladimir Putin about the need to secure the site where the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was downed by a surface-to-air missile last week.