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Armed pro-Russian separatists stand at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. The Malaysian airliner Flight MH17 was brought down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard and sharply raising the stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels in which Russia and the West back opposing sides. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev (UKRAINE - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3Z3NL
Facing widespread international pressure, Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine appear to be backing away from their efforts to obstruct the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17:
After days of obstruction, Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine permitted Dutch forensics experts on Monday to search the wreckage of the downed Malaysia Airlines jetliner destroyed by a surface-to-air missile, allowed bodies of the victims to be evacuated by train and agreed to give the plane’s flight recorder boxes to the Malaysia government.
It remains to be seen whether the separatists follow-through with their promise and if they do, whether the recorders will be in pristine, untampered condition. Shortly before the news broke—which was announced by the Malaysian government—President Obama had delivered a statement from the White House calling on the rebels to do much of what they are now promising to do.

The president also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his country's support for military action in Ukraine, but the agreement announced by the Malaysian government gave no indication of progress on that front.

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