SYDNEY – Australia's prime minister says his country is close to finalizing a deal with Ukraine to send police and a small number of troops to secure the Malaysian plane crash site as part of a multinational team.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that Australia has 90 federal police officers in Europe ready to be deployed to the site in eastern Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed last week.
Abbott says some of the officers could be armed and would be accompanied by members of Australia's defense force.
Pro-Russian separatists control the area and have hampered investigators' attempts to access the site.
All 298 people aboard the plane were killed when it was shot down on July 17, likely by a missile from territory held by pro-Russian rebels.