UK & World News

  • 29 July 2014, 18:29

MH17 Families: 'We Want Our Children Home'

The father of one of the 10 Britons killed when flight MH17 was shot down has urged a pause in the fighting in eastern Ukraine "so we can get all the boys and girls home".

Speaking after meeting the Prime Minister at Downing Street, Barry Sweeney, whose son Liam was onboard the aircraft, said he was trying to remain positive as they waited for the body to be returned to the UK.

"Well at the moment we still don't know what's happened to Liam, because obviously his body still hasn't come home," he said.

"It's very difficult, but unfortunately we're going to have to wait to find out.

"I think there's some fighting in Ukraine so the crash scene is very, very difficult to get to.

"We feel very angry, frustrated, it would be nice if they could just stop fighting for a little bit so we can get all the boys and girls home."

His wife Angela added: "We're just functioning basically, just waiting and it's just the waiting that's the worst bit."

The meeting between the families of some of the victims of the disaster and David Cameron came as EUleaders agreed further sanctions against Russia over its alleged backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Pro-Russian rebels have been blamed for the attack on the Malaysia Airlines plane earlier this month, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

Earlier, Mr Cameron said the primary concern of British families would be to ensure their loved ones are "treated with respect and dignity".

"We must do everything we can to make sure the crash site is properly managed, that their loved ones are brought home and that everything that can be done is being done," he said.

"I'll be trying to bring them up to date with all the things that have happened, listen to them and try to answer some of their questions."

The remains of many of the victims have been flown to the Netherlands, from where the aircraft took off, but only one person - a Dutch national - has so far been identified.

Sky's Ian Woods, in Downing Street, said: "The priority for the British families is to get their loved ones returned to them.

"We don't know whether that will be possible yet because although the vast majority of victims are now in the Netherlands, identification work is only just beginning."

Meanwhile, international investigators in Ukraine endured another frustrating day, as fierce fighting again forced them to abandon plans to access the crash site.

The joint Dutch and Australian team had been due to collect victims' remains and belongings from fields on the outskirts of Grabovo.

It is the third day in a row they have been unable to carry out their work.

Around 60km (37 miles) away in Horlivka, 17 people, including three children, were killed by shelling, the mayor's office said.

Further east in Luhansk, five people were reportedly killed when a care home was struck by artillery fire.