Russia summons Dutch ambassador over MH17 disaster

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador on Thursday. Ambassador Gilles Beschoor Plug was told to stop “the obsessive attempts of the Dutch authorities to hold the Russian Federation responsible” for the downing of flight MH17, the Russian Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Joint Investigation Team said that it found strong indications that Russian president Vladimir Putin was involved in deploying the BUK missile system that shot down the Malaysian Airlines passenger flight over Eastern Ukraine in 2014. Prime Minister Mark Rutte also recently told RTL Nieuws that the JIT had demonstrated Putin’s involvement in the dowing. And while the Russian president can’t be prosecuted, the whole world sees this, Rutte said.

The JIT has stopped its investigation into other people involved in the downing of MH17 because it did not find enough evidence to prosecute anyone else. The team can restart the investigation if new evidence surfaces.

Russia again called the investigation “politicized” and said it does not accept the JIT’s conclusions. According to the Russian Ministry, the JIT worked for years to make the evidence fit a “pre-selected version of the tragedy and negletcted the obvious facts that contradicted it.”

On 17 July 2014, the Malaysia Airlines flight from Schiphol to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed, including 196 Dutch people.

In November last year, the court in The Hague sentenced rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergei Dubinsky, and garrison commander Leonid Chartshenko to life in prison for their role in the downing of flight MH17. They were the first suspects identified by the JIT. The fourth suspect, Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted. The court believes that the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was a mistake by pro-Russian separatists. The assumption is that they did not intend to shoot down a passenger plane but mistook it for a military aircraft.

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