The wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is being collected and removed from the crash site in rebel-held Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
In a statement, the Dutch Safety Board, which is investigating the cause of the crash, said that the wreckage will be transported to the Netherlands, where investigators intend to reconstruct a section of the aircraft.
Alexander Kostrubitsky, the head of emergency services in the rebel-held areas of the Donetsk region, told the Associated Press that the operation could take around 10 days. The debris is being cut into smaller pieces to facilitate its transportation, Kostrubitsky said.
An AFP journalist saw workers from the emergency ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic cutting pieces of the plane's wreckage with metal saws at the crash site near the village of Grabove.
The crash site had been difficult for investigators and international observers to access in the past, as rebels and fighting in the region prevented investigators from gaining access, according to a BBC report.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine, which is under the control of pro-Russian forces. All 298 people onboard were killed, 193 of whom were Dutch nationals.
Western countries blame pro-Russian rebels for shooting down the plane with a Russian missile system. Russia denies the allegations. This week, Russian television released a photo that they claimed showed that the flight was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter, a claim the U.S. branded “preposterous.”
Sara Firth, a former correspondent for Russian state-funded news channel Russia Today, resigned in July citing the channel's coverage of the MH17 disaster. Firth claimed that the station regularly encourages its reporters to “totally ignore” or “obscure the truth.”