Council of Europe (CoE)
Foreign Ministry statement on the impossibility of Russia’s continued participation in trilateral consultations with Australia and the Netherlands on the MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014
As you are aware, in July, the Netherlands filed an interstate complaint against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in connection with the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 (a Boeing 777) in 2014. We regard this step as another blow to Russian-Dutch relations and a demonstration by The Hague of its firm intention, in defiance of common sense, to continue the dubious path of putting the blame and responsibility for what happened in the skies over Donbass entirely on Russia.
From the outset, the Netherlands adhered to the only scenario of what happened and promoted it both as part of a technical investigation conducted by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) and a criminal investigation carried out by the Joint Investigation team (JIT). Naturally, both investigations were biased, superficial and politicised. Everything was done to back the hasty accusations against Russia.
In turn, our country initially advocated a full, thorough and independent investigation in accordance with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2166, repeatedly pointed out the shortcomings in the investigations of the plane crash, and noted the inconsistency with the criteria contained in the resolution. Russia was open to meetings with the investigative authorities, offered overall assistance, transferred a significant amount of valuable materials that shed light on the crash and refuted many findings of the investigation. Some of the data provided by Russia were declassified for this purpose.
In addition, when in 2018 we agreed to hold trilateral consultations with Australia and the Netherlands on the entire range of issues related to the circumstances of the flight MH17 crash, we operated on the assumption that such consultations would help establish, based on the facts, the true causes of the crash. However, in all likelihood, Australia and the Netherlands did not want to find out what actually happened in the summer of 2014, but focused on pushing Russia to plead guilty and extracting compensation for the surviving families.
Eventually, without even waiting for the interim results of the consultations – there were only three rounds – The Hague opted to file an interstate complaint against Russia with the ECHR. These unfriendly actions by the Netherlands make it meaningless to continue the tripartite consultations and our participation in them. The responsibility for disrupting the tripartite consultations thus rests entirely with The Hague.
We believe that in ignoring our arguments and our openness to a dialogue, the Netherlands is exclusively pursuing its fleeting political interests, shamelessly hiding behind the alleged need to protect the rights of the victims’ families.
For our part, we remain committed to the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2166, and plan to continue to cooperate with the competent authorities of the Netherlands, including in studying the issue of Ukraine not closing its airspace for civilian flights over the zone of armed conflict in Donbass, but we will do so in a different format.