The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has stated that the Netherlands is shunning a fully-fledged investigation into the MH17 plane crash.
The Office said that it had asked the Netherlands to share MH17 files in view of the fact that three Russian nationals are suspects in the MH17 case, but that the request was refused.
By doing so, Dutch authorities once again "avoided taking all necessary measures to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the MH17 crash, in line with a UN Security Council resolution”, the Office pointed out.
It added that “Russian law enforcement agencies’ full-blown participation in the probe would ensure the right of MH17 crash victims to establish the true causes of the tragedy and to hold those responsible accountable, regardless of their nationality”.
The statement comes after the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in December that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s accusations against Moscow are part of its strategy to cover up its own mistakes in the MH17 investigation.
"There is a feeling against this background that the Dutch Prosecutor's office has found a reason to accuse the Russian side of some bad faith in the approach to cooperation in the execution of various requests for legal assistance exactly to hide own mistakes," she added.
MH17 Plane Crash Case
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 as the region was mired in a conflict with the new government following a coup earlier that year. As a result, all 298 passengers – mostly Dutch – and crew on board were killed in the crash.
Following the tragedy, Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in the region blamed each other for the downing, with the latter contending that they had no military equipment that would allow them to shoot down an aircraft at that altitude. The United States and a number of European nations rushed to allege that Russia was responsible for the incident– a claim that was made even before an official investigation was launched.
Shortly thereafter, the Netherlands set up a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) to probe the MH17 case, but left Russia out of the process despite the latter’s consistent offers to assist in the investigation.
JIT’s probe concluded that the aircraft was downed by a Buk missile, ostensibly launched from a Russian anti-aircraft missile brigade stationed in the city of Kursk, not far from the Ukrainian border. At the same time, the Dutch-led team refused to share concrete evidence to corroborate the claims that Russia was responsible for the downing.
The probe was followed by JIT announcement that international arrest warrants would be issued for four suspects, Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulato, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, on charges of murder, with a trial over the MH17 case set to begin in the Netherlands in March 2020.
Moscow has repeatedly slammed JIT’s conclusions as “openly biased” and “one-sided” and emphasised that after being denied access to the formal probe, Russia had carried out its own investigation, which concluded that it was an older version of the missile made in 1986 and belonging to Ukraine that downed the ill-fated plane. Dutch investigators, however, ignored the information.