US military team in Ukraine to help airliner crash probe

WASHINGTON: A small US. military team has arrived in Kiev to help investigate the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the United States said on Tuesday, with more direct training support for Ukraine also possible. The team of about 10 people - which includes special operations, logistics, communications and air planning personnel - will operate from the capital of Kiev and will not visit the crash site in the conflict area of eastern Ukraine. Last week, the Pentagon announced it would notify Congress of plans to mount a $19 million program to train several units of Ukraine’s National Guard in “internal defence”. The request has not yet been approved by legislators.     Washington has a long-running military training relationship with Ukraine but has not sent service personnel to the country aside from its regular embassy presence since the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region by Russia in March.
US. European Command spokesman US. Navy Captain Gregory Hicks said the survey and assessment team would advise the US. Embassy in Kiev over possible US. support to the Netherlands, Malaysia and Australia in the MH17 investigation and recovery. “The team would work in coordination with and support the FBI team already on the ground,” he said. “They will not participate in actual recovery operations. The team will be in Kiev for as long as required in support of the overall US. contribution to the investigation.” 

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