The Pentagon has sent an assessment team to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev to support nations in the recovery operation of a Malaysian airliner that was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine.
About a dozen logistics and surveying experts arrived Tuesday in Kiev, Defense Department spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said, adding that the State Department had requested the Pentagon team.
The experts will focus on assessing the crash site and providing recommendations to the U.S. Embassy staff about “possible U.S. support to the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia and other partners” in the recovery operation, Adm. Kirby said.
“Recovery operations are something — tragically and unfortunately — the U.S. military has to do and has to be good at,” he said. “These people have expertise in that regard and again were asked by the State Department to come help assist.”
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, when it was downed by a surface-to-air missile.
Western intelligence analysts have said the missile most likely was fired by pro-Russia separatists battling Ukrainian troops in the east. The separatists, who have limited investigators’ access to the crash site, have denied responsibility.