I am pleased to have been in the Verkhovna Rada today to witness the adoption of a bilateral arrangement between Ukraine and Australia on the search for, and recovery of, remains and the investigation into the downing of MH17.

The arrangement provides the framework for Australia’s assistance to Ukraine. It formally authorises the presence of police, civilian and military personnel and contains a number of important protections for our people on the ground. This includes freedom of movement, the right to import and export supporting assets, and immunity from Ukraine’s criminal and civil jurisdiction.

Australian assistance will be provided as part of a Dutch-led mission. I expect to be notified shortly by Ukraine that the arrangement has entered into effect.

Australia has also concluded an arrangement with the Netherlands outlining how we will work together in Ukraine. Together these two arrangements establish the formal legal framework for Australia’s participation in the mission. 

I welcome the Ukraine Government’s decision to recall its parliament to enable the bilateral arrangement to be adopted.

It is important that a thorough investigation into the crash proceed expeditiously, consistent with the demands of the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 2166. 

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