MH17 Ukraine Rebel Leader to Hand Over Malaysia Airlines Flight Black Boxes
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe examine wagons at a railway station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Torez BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

Pro-Russian separatists have agreed to hand over black boxes from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was allegedly shot down in eastern Ukraine, to investigators sent by Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian government said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said he spoke with rebel leader Alexander Borodai, who pledged to give both MH17 black boxes to Malaysian authorities.

"At approximately 9pm tonight, Ukraine time, the two black boxes will be handed over to a Malaysian team in Donetsk, who will take custody of them," Najib said.

The PM, who lost a relative in the plane crash, also said Borodai agreed to move the remains of 282 victims by train to Kharkiv in Ukraine, where they will be then taken over by Dutch authorities.

"The train will depart this evening Ukraine time and will be accompanied by six Malaysian members of the recovery team," he said. "The remains will then be flown to Amsterdam on board a Dutch C-130 Hercules, together with the Malaysian team. Following any necessary forensic work, the remains of Malaysian citizens will then be flown home to Malaysia."

Najib also announced that Borodai agreed to grant independent international investigators safe access to the crash site to begin a full investigation of the incident.

"I must stress that although an agreement has been reached, there remain a number of steps required before it is completed," said Najib.

"There is work still to be done, work which relies on continued communication in good faith. Mr Borodai and his people have so far given their cooperation."

Najib's 83-year-old step-grandmother was travelling on the Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur as it came down.

The PM tweeted:

Earlier, US President Barack Obama had urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Kremlin-backed separatists to stop hampering the probe into the plane crash.

"We have to make sure the truth is out and accountability exists," said Obama.