The misinformation which CDA parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt helped spread about the MH17 disaster could damage the ongoing investigation, according to the man in charge of the probe.
Tjibbe Joustra, chairman of the Dutch safety council OVV, told broadcaster NOS the Omtzigt incident ‘makes room for other theories about the circumstances of the disaster’.
Omtzigt has been allowed to remain in his job as a parliamentarian, despite his role in priming a fake witness to the MH17 disaster at a meeting with relatives in May.
The MP stepped down as the party’s spokesman on the MH17 crash on Monday, two days after the NRC reported he had helped an Ukrainian man who claimed to have seen other aircraft in the sky near the Malaysian Airlines plane at the time it was shot down.
OVV research shows that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile on the ground but Russia has always maintained flight MH17 was shot down by another aircraft.
On Tuesday, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren warned that the Netherlands and the MH17 investigation were being targeted by Russian disinformation. The Omtzigt incident is an ‘illustration of how easily falsehoods can become part of the discussion,’ Ollongren told NOS.
Asked if he felt he had been used by Russia, Omtzigt said: ‘The Russians will do all they can to spread misinformation, you don’t need to make me the sole person responsible.’
Omtzigt said he supported the OVV’s findings that the plan was shot down by a Buk missile, and that he had made it clear at the meeting in question.