About a dozen American troops from U.S. European Command on Tuesday arrived in Ukraine to help recover remains and investigate the downing of the Malaysian airliner that killed all 298 passengers aboard, officials said.
The State Department requested the team to “assess, advise, and provide recommendations to the U.S. Embassy” about support for the recovery operation, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said at a briefing with reporters.
Kirby said that the troops will not go to the crash scene in eastern Ukraine near fighting between the forces of the central government in Kiev and separatists backed by Russia.
“They will not leave Kiev,” Kirby said of the U.S. troops who specialize in recoveries and analysis at crash sites. “Recovery operations are something, tragically and unfortunately, the U.S. military has to do and has to be good at.”
The U.S. and NATO have charged that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was brought down last month by a Russian surface-to-air missile system fired from an area controlled by the separatists.