Shelling close to the vast crash site of downed flight MH17 has forced international investigators to cut short a visit to the area.

International investigations were to be carried out where some of the jet's wreckage is lying, an OSCE observer with the probe team said this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry has accused the European Union of "double standards" by lifting a ban on supplying Ukraine with military technology and equipment "on the quiet".

Relations between Russia and Brussels have deteriorated since the EU imposed sanctions on Russia.

The sanctions were over its involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting government forces.

In its heaviest penalties on Russia yet, the EU passed a new round of sanctions on Russia's defence, energy and financial sectors this week.

"During a recent meeting of the Council of Europe in Brussels, leaders of EU member states agreed 'on the quiet' to remove restrictions on exports to Kiev of equipment that could be used for internal repression," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

"Exports of military technologies and equipment were also allowed," the statement said, without saying when the decision was taken by the EU.

It said the restrictions had been put in place in February, the month that Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as Ukraine's president.

Removing such restrictions showed double standards, it said, and called on EU leaders not to be "goaded" by the US over events in eastern Ukraine.

EU officials in Brussels were not immediately available for comment.