The Netherlands is poised to send its most elite soldiers to secure the crash site of Malaysian Airways MH17, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.
The paper says all leave for the commandos of the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade based in Schaarsbergen and Assen has been cancelled and that soldiers will leave for eastern Ukraine this weekend.
In addition, Dutch special forces currently in Mali are being recalled and sent on to the area around Donetsk, the paper says, without quoting sources.
The aim of sending troops is to ensure the 23 Dutch crash investigators and 40 unarmed military police officers can do their job, the paper says.
On Thursday, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands is to send 40 unarmed military police officers to the MH17 crash site in Ukraine to help forensic experts look for the remaining bodies of the victims.
The military officers (marechaussee) will not be used to secure the the area, Rutte told a news conference.
Earlier this week it was reported the Netherlands and Australia were working on sending an international army and police mission to secure the crash site in rebel-held eastern Ukraine but Rutte refused to go into details.
‘We are looking for ways to stabilise the area,’ he said. ‘It is not clear if that will succeed.’
However, according to Australian media reports, Australia is sending up to 100 police officers to Ukraine, some of whom will be armed.
The Australian newspaper says Australia is close to securing a deal with Ukraine for federal police officers to secure the wreckage site of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Prime minister Tony Abbott said 90 federal police officers were in Europe now and another 100 would be sent from Australia today.
In addition, he said a ‘very modest’ ADF team was in the Ukraine already for planning and protection duties.
Meanwhile, Dutch police unions have said they have serious doubts about sending unarmed officers to Ukraine and say there are major risks attached to their mission.
Police officers should be used as part of a UN mission, they said. ‘But sending 40 unarmed officers is not what we were thinking of,’ a spokesman from one union told Nos news.
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