Last updated Friday, October 24, 2014 07:05pm

KIEV, July 18 — Rescuers have recovered as many as 181 bodies so far at the site of the Malaysian airliner crash in eastern Ukraine, an official at Kiev’s Foreign Ministry told a briefing today.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was downed near the Russian border yesterday, an area where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since April. All 298 people on board of the plane were pronounced dead.

Andriy Sibiga said the bodies would probably be transported to the nearby Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is under the control of the central government.

Separatists have agreed to provide assistance to those investigating the crash of the plane and will ensure safe access for international experts visiting the site, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said. — Reuters

A member of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry searches for bodies close to the site of the MH17 crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. — Reuters picA member of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry searches for bodies close to the site of the MH17 crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. — Reuters pic