19 October 201713:49

Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question regarding the Netherlands Chief Prosecutor’s comments on the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17


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Question: What can you say about the interview granted by Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, in which he alleged that Russia is not willing to cooperate with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) “in honest,” unlike other countries?

Maria Zakharova: We have seen this attitude before at the beginning of the investigation into the crash of the Malaysian MH17 flight, only this time is has been declared officially, by the Netherlands’ chief prosecutor.

I am referring to an obviously biased attitude towards Russia and the Netherlands’ selective approach to collecting evidence, an attitude that cannot be described as objective.

Mr Westerbeke’s interview has shown that contributions from Ukraine and the United States, as well as information  from online sources are considered to be highly valuable, whereas any assistance provided by Russia has been deliberately downplayed, including the secret data we declassified for this purpose, information about an unprecedented experiment held by the Almaz-Antey Concern, and the original data from our radar, all of which is objective and accurate information that could really help the investigation.

Mr Westerbeke has offered an ambiguous view on cooperation with Russia. He says that “nothing goes smoothly” and wonders whether Russia “is willing to cooperate in honest.”

In our opinion, this is very unfair considering the huge amount of data Russia has forwarded to the investigators since day one. Moreover, the Netherlands was one of the first countries to deny Russia the right to become a full member of the JIT.

It is shocking that the investigators have demonstrated a special, meaning a favourable attitude towards Ukraine. Kiev has been forgiven for failing to provide vital data, such as transcripts of air traffic control conversations and information about the location of Ukrainian Buk systems. They believe the Ukrainian authorities’ explanation that their radar stations were not operating, etc.

We would like to point out again that Ukraine is an interested party, which was given the opportunity to influence the investigation when it was made an official member of the JIT.

Russia has always called for a thorough and objective investigation into this terrible tragedy and is willing to provide whatever assistance it can to the investigation. We again urge our Dutch colleagues to take the information we have provided into account, including when formulating the JIT’s final conclusions.

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