Officials in Ukraine say the Netherlands could have had direct access to the crash site of Malaysian Airways MH17 if Dutch diplomats had talked to rebel leaders, current affairs show Nieuwsuur reported on Wednesday evening.
A number of Ukrainian officials, including foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, told the programme Kiev had no objections if the Netherlands talked to the pro-Russian rebels.
‘We could not recognise the People’s Republic of Donetsk but access to the crash site was not a political issue, it was a moral requirement,’ Klimkin said. Nor had Kiev asked the Netherlands not to talk to the rebels, Nieuwsuur said.
The Dutch refused to talk to the rebels and crash investigators only had access to the site two weeks after the plane came down, apparently hit by a missile.
Prime minister Mark Rutte was opposed to talking to the rebels because this would mean recognising the breakaway republic. However, Malaysia did talk to the rebel groups and was able to get hold of the black boxes for analysis, Nieuwsuur pointed out.
Instead, Dutch communication with the rebels was done via the OSCE. ‘From the word go, the cabinet took the principle decision not to be involved in direct negotiations with the rebels,’ the foreign ministry said in a statement. ‘That would have made us vulnerable and open to blackmail.’
Flight MH17 crashed in July, killing all 298 people on board. Most of them were Dutch. The Netherlands is leading the investigation into the cause.
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