The Dutch defense ministry says a team of experts has recovered a small amount of human remains from a village near the site where a Malaysia Airlines jet was downed last July in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

Monday's mission also netted personal effects of victims and pieces of wreckage of Flight 17 that was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it plunged out of the sky.

Forensic experts working in the Netherlands have identified remains from all but three people on the stricken Boeing 777.

Dutch police say the plane most likely was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Pro-Russian separatist rebels in Ukraine deny involvement.

The defense ministry says the newly discovered remains are expected to be returned to the Netherlands on Saturday.