Malaysia Airlines MH17: Attack was 'planned action' by pro-Russian rebels
Debris is pictured at the site of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in eastern UkraineReuters

Malaysian relatives of the MH17 plane crash victims have asked for the bodies to be returned before Ramadan ends.

The Muslim holy month is expected to end on 29 July.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 60km from the Russian border on 17 July, amid continuing allegations it was shot down by pro-Russia separatists.

All the 298 passengers – including 80 children - are believed to have died in the incident. Around 44 passengers were Malaysians.

"We need to get the bodies home to expedite the burials," Zulrusdi bin Haji Mohamad Hol, whose cousin was on the plane together with his whole family, told the Time magazine. "Otherwise, how will our family members get peace?"

The area where the plane crashed has been rocked by clashes between Ukrainian forces and separatists in the past few months.

Due to the high level of violence, investigators have limited access to the plane crash site, controlled by the rebels.

Pro-Russia insurgents have piled up more than 200 bodies and put them in refrigerated boxcars. However, reports have emerged that separatists are holding up the refrigerated trains, preventing the bodies from being identified and returned to their families.

One of the trains suffered a power outage, sparking further criticism of the way the incident has been handled.

"I'm very angry," Zulrusdi said. "They're inhumane, they don't understand. First they murder our relatives then they keep the corpses with them."

Western countries have urged Russia to rein in the insurgents and ensure the rebels' full co-operation with international investigators.

According to James Chin, professor of political science at Monash University, the bodies will not be recovered within the next eight days.

"It will be almost impossible to do this, and it will show how powerless Malaysia is in a situation like this, involving big players like the US and Russia," he said.