Pro-Russian rebels in southeastern Ukraine handed over two recovered black boxes from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down along the Ukrainian border last week.
The exchange was made at a surreal-sounding, makeshift press conference early Tuesday morning in east Ukraine, at the headquarters of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had previously announced the agreement between his government and Alexander Borodai, the “prime minister” of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic.” The head of Malaysia’s delegation in eastern Ukraine, Colonel Mohamed Sakri of Malaysian National Security Council, told reporters the black boxes appeared to be intact.
The pro-Russian separatists have been impeding the investigation into MH17’s crash last week, which has prompted international outrage directed at Russia.
The United Nations Security Council, which includes Russia, unanimously passed a resolution condemning the “downing” of the plane and calling for a thorough, unfettered investigation into the incident Monday afternoon.
U.S. President Barack Obama also challenged the separatists in a statement from the White House on Monday, asking, “What exactly are they trying to hide?”
According to multiple reporters who attended the makeshift press conference in east Ukraine, the pro-Russian separatists also agreed to a ceasefire within an approximately six-mile radius surrounding the area of the crash.
At the press conference, Borodai again denied the rebels had shot down the plane and pointed his finger at the Ukrainian government.
“The Ukrainians had the technical capabilities and the motives to do it,” he said.
Here’s a look at the scene, from reporters tweeting from the press conference:
— ABC News (@ABC) July 21, 2014
Malaysia delegation with rebel leader Borodai. He says again Ukraine forces downed plane. Only one speaking thus far. pic.twitter.com/0eNNXPgbvB
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) July 21, 2014
Malaysian "would like to convey our sincere appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Borodai for obeying our request." pic.twitter.com/ghD2UiWdp9
— max seddon (@maxseddon) July 21, 2014
— Kirit Radia (@KiritRadia) July 21, 2014
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