Friday 07 October 2022

MH17 investigation is main topic at talks between the Netherlands and Russia

The hunt for those who brought down flight MH17 is the main issue on the table during Friday’s talks between foreign minister Stef Blok and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, news agency ANP said.

All 298 people on board flight MH17 were killed when it was struck by a missile on July 17, 2014, and crashed into fields in eastern Ukraine. Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were Dutch and the Netherlands is leading the investigation.

The JIT’s preliminary investigations concluded last year that the plane was shot down from Ukrainian farmland by a BUK missile ‘controlled by pro-Russian fighters’. That conclusion has been disputed by Russia, which claims that Ukrainian fighters were responsible.

Blok told reporters on Thursday that he would impress upon Lavrov that the UN security council had agreed all countries would cooperate in bringing the MH17 perpetrators to justice.

In addition, Blok will ask the Russian minister to take action to help stop the conflict in Syria, ANP said. This should initially take the form of a cease-fire so humanitarian aid can be brought in, the news agency quoted the minister as saying.

Blok said he would stress that Russia is crucial to a ceasefire in Syria and, ultimately, a sustainable solution.

February

The bilateral meeting was initially due to take place in February but was cancelled after it emerged the then foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra had lied about a meeting with president Putin at his country retreat.

The relationship between the Netherlands and Russia has been strained for some time. Last December, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren said the Russian security services are trying to influence public opinion in the Netherlands by spreading fake news.

And the Netherlands has also agreed to expel two Russian diplomats in the tit for tat expulsions following the nerve gas attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

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