Updated: 08/15/2014 01:27 | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysia to begin repatriating remains of MH17 victims

Malaysia said Thursday that the remains of 16 victims aboard downed Flight MH17 will be repatriated on August 22, declaring it a day of national mourning.

Malaysia to begin repatriating remains of MH17 victims

Ukrainian soldiers carry a coffin with the remains of a victim of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash to a military plane during a ceremony at the airport of Kharkiv, on July 23, 2014 - by Genya Savilov

Coffins bearing the remains will arrive on a special flight and be received by the country's king, prime minister and other dignitaries to a minute of silence at Kuala Lumpur's main international airport, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement.

The remains will then be brought to the next-of-kins' hometowns throughout the country where they will be laid to rest, he said.

The 16 victims comprise 15 Malaysians and a Dutch citizen who was born in Malaysia.

The Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine on July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 on board.

More than 220 coffins filled with remains have been taken to the Netherlands for identification, but the search for body parts is still not complete due to fighting around the crash site.

Of those aboard, 193 were Dutch and 43 were Malaysians, including 15 crew members.

Muhyiddin said a further eight Malaysians had already been identified and would be sent back in stages pending completion of forensic work.

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