Russia reaffirms commitment to cooperate with Dutch MH17 crash investigators

The reconstructed wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. © Michael Kooren
Russia has reaffirmed its commitment to efficient and swift cooperation with the Netherlands in the probe into the MH17 plane crash during a meeting with Dutch investigators in Moscow.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine’s war-torn Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. 

Two years after the incident, in which 298 lives were lost, an international investigation headed by the Dutch has still been unable to name the party responsible. 

Representatives of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the country’s Investigative Committee received colleagues from the Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service in the capital on Wednesday.

During the talks, “Russia has once again confirmed its unconditional commitment to maximum efficient, swift cooperation with the Netherlands in order to clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy,” Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said in statement.

Moscow has been working with the international investigation into the crash since November 2014, already passing a large amount of data and documents requested by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office stated.

“They included the testimonies of eyewitnesses of the tragedy, the results of experiments and research into the causes of the event, a selection of clips from the media, containing accounts of local witnesses of the tragedy and other information,” the statement read.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said that it saw “the most thorough and timely execution of the latest Dutch request for legal assistance” as its main objective of the Moscow meeting.

Russia’s Investigative Committee also expressed its readiness to provide all the necessary assistance to the MH17 crash probe.

READ MORE: MH17 criminal probe at ‘advanced stage’ as relatives press Malaysia Airlines with lawsuit

However, it stressed that “the transfer of information related to the plane crash is, to date, carried out unilaterally” by Russia.

“The Dutch side isn’t sharing the data it possesses with the Russian side, although the bilateral exchange of information would have sped up the investigation multifold,” Vladimir Markin, an Investigative Committee representative, said in a statement.

Markin also drew attention to the fact that the Netherlands-led investigation is “ignoring calls for the Ukrainian side to provide such important information… as primary radar data, the conversations of military air traffic controllers and recordings of negotiations of the military sector.”

In June, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) working on the MH17 case said that the probe was at a “very advanced stage.”

READ MORE: Dutch call for more transparency in MH17 probe as police briefs victims’ relatives (RT EXCLUSIVE)

The team said that “after the summer” they would be able to tell which weapon was used to down the plane, and where it was launched from – the area held by the Kiev government or the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

However, the JIT stressed that the findings will only be included in a criminal file and will not be made public.