Progress made on Australian MH17 identities, Bishop says


Significant progress is being made identifying the Australians killed when a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine.

Investigators have identified a "significant number" of the 38 Australian victims of the MH17 disaster.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop updated parliament on the investigators' progress on Tuesday.

She did not give further details to "protect the privacy of our families".

Ms Bishop said 183 of the 298 passengers and crew killed when Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down by Russian-backed rebels over Ukraine in July had been identified so far.

She will use a NATO summit in Wales this week to lobby other G20 nations to block Russian president Vladimir Putin from the G20 leaders' summit in Brisbane in November.

Earlier, Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the effort to recover the remains of 38 Australian citizens and residents from the MH17 site had been completed.

Mr Robb, speaking on ABC radio, played down suggestions the threat of further sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine conflict cold thwart efforts to access the crash site.

"They feel they have recovered all of the human remains that could be recovered," Mr Robb said.

"The process at the moment is to obviously as quickly as possible identify the remains that they have been able to get from the crash site."

His comments to ABC radio comes as Malaysian authorities confirmed the remains of the pilots of MH17 will arrive back in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

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