MH17 OSCE investigators
Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA
  •, Thursday 7 August 2014 04.19 AEST

Despite intense combat in the region, 110 experts from the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia had continued to search for victims’ remains at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Mark Rutte praised the effort of the recovery mission but said that it was too dangerous to continue at this time

The Netherlands‘ prime minister has called a halt to the search for remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, saying it is too dangerous to continue.

At a press conference in the Hague on Wednesday, Mark Rutte praised the effort of the recovery mission so far and promised victims’ families the search would resume at some time in the future.

MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on 17 July, killing all 298 on board. Around 228 coffins have been returned to the Netherlands.

Rutte also said that information from a Ukrainian military doctor who had overseen operations in the days immediately following the crash “has changed the recovery team’s perception of an earlier effort undertaken by local authorities”.

“There was an intensive search in the area with 800 volunteers,” he said.

The Dutch-led international recovery team that arrived in the area later has not found a large number of human remains.

He said that it appears “fortunately, more was done after the disaster than we thought until now”.