How Russia is trying to revise results of MH17 crash investigation?

Author : Arthur Rodivilov

Source :

The Kremlin is looking for "lawyers" in the Netherlands and hopes that the new US administration will be more indulgent. Relatives of the victims demand the resumption of searches, and such talks are conducted in Netherlands' diplomatic circles at informal level
23:30, 13 February 2017

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In early January, at Amsterdam Schiphol airport was detained Dutch journalist Michel Spekkers who carried fragments from the Boeing-777 crash site in Donbas. As reported by the Prosecutor's Office of the Netherlands, during luggage inspection, law enforcement officers discovered few bags with metal objects and some fragments similar to human remains. Things were seized and sent for examination, and journalist was released after interrogation. According to Spekkers, he voluntarily wanted to give them all found at the crash site, but as a result authorities seized everything, including photos and videos shot during the private investigation in Donbas. After the incident at the Dutch airport relatives of the victims said they plan to put the question on the resumption of search before the authorities.

Preparations for the first visit to Donbas took two months. The journalist received a 10-day Russian visa, because, according to him, from the Ukrainian side, "it was hard to get the visa." "If I get permission, it would be difficult to avoid censorship, I applied for a transit visa from the Russian side and got it for 10 days, I received a DNR visa and documents for the press", said Spekkers in an interview with But journalist refused to talk on censorship from the side of Russian Federation and DNR.

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Michel Spekkers

At the same time Dutch journalist claims that he didn’t receive any offers of assistance, including assistance in investigation, from the Russian side or DNR side. According to him, being at the crash site, he saw the field literally strewn with wreckage and brought a fragment of remains of one of the victims, which the Dutch law enforcement agencies have identified later, and there was not the only one fragment at the crash site.

"I think there are two reasons (why the wreckage and the remains of victims are still at the crash site) The first reason - political, due to which the investigators team had access to the fragments only from the territory controlled by Ukraine, when the area of crash is controlled by DNR . Therefore, the investigation tried not to spoil relations with the DNR. The second reason, I think, is that before the crash much more conflicts happened on this territory ", the journalist said.

According to Spekkers, during its investigation in Donbas, he was able to "communicate with hundreds of different people from different spheres." "My task was to examine the geopolitical situation, how strong was the influence of Russia, and what happened there," he said, adding that this is why the seized data is very important for the disclosure of more objective picture.

"The State (Netherlands) is a little bit scared, because I took things from the crash site. This is the first time that the press has published new evidence over the past year and 9 months", he said.

It is known that the law enforcement services of the Netherlands have returned the seized equipment to the journalist.

Russia in search of "lawyer"

Spekkers has been repeatedly accused of collaboration with the Russian media. The journalist does not deny that he was seen by press in Donbas, and is mentioned in Russian reports in connection with the need to resume the search, but he categorically denies that he is a part of Russia's plan to discredit the investigation.

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The election of the new President of United States, Donald Trump and the upcoming elections to the national parliament of the Netherlands, which are scheduled for 15 March, made it possible for Moscow to find the "lawyers" abroad in MH17 case, because Russia doesn’t agree with the result.

Kremlin informational campaign that seeks to cast doubt on the involvement of Russian Buk missile launcher in Boeing crash, continues to exist, periodically moving in the acute phase, for example, in the case of a Dutch journalist.

Later news agencies spreaded an open letter from the Netherlands with an appeal to US President Donald Trump to "push" the new investigation regarding the disaster in Donbas. According to the authors, the investigation conducted by the Netherlands Security Council and the international investigation team, "was not independent and convincing." Among the signatories are 26 people: public figures, politicians, journalists and professors.

Commenting on the preliminary results of the investigation, Trump then suggested that the plane could be shot down using Russian weapons, but maybe it wasn’t applied by Russian Federation. "That's a horrible thing that happened," he said. "It's disgusting and disgraceful but Putin and Russia say they didn't do it, the other side said they did, no one really knows who did it, probably Putin knows who did it. Possibly it was Russia but they are totally denying it."

"They say it wasn't them," Trump added. "It may have been their weapon, but they didn't use it, they didn't fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you'll probably never know for sure."

 The statement of the presidential candidate could not remain without attention of the Kremlin to form the agenda for Ukraine in case of his victory.

On request of to the US State Department asking to answer whether Trump knows about the Dutch open letter, or give an official comment about the US position on the MH17 case, representatives of the Foreign Ministry reported that the issue is outside the scope of their competence, so they forwarded the request to the White house and asked to contact them after processing of the document.

White House is silent until Trump is studying the situation around Ukraine. Silence may be interrupted in late February during a planned visit of Petro Poroshenko to Washington when security and countering Russian aggression issues will be the priority.

Relatives of the victims: the question is still on the agenda

In connection with the identification of the remains brought by Spekkers, relatives of the victims demand the resumption of searches. And they are ready to apply to the General Prosecutor's Office with this requirement.

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The President of foundation which unites relatives of MH17 victims, Evert van Zijtveld told AFP news agency, that the relatives do not want to know that "human remains remained there." According to him, the organization intends to raise the issue of resuming the search before the authorities.

According to source in the diplomatic circles of the Netherlands, talks about the resumption of searches are conducted there on an informal basis, "as long as there is no good cause to speak about concrete initiatives." Another source said that there is a number of relatives of the victims who do not want to participate in political games.

At the same time, local media reported on a possible meeting of victims’ relatives on the level of Ministry of Security and Justice.

In turn, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice at the request of about a possible resumption of searches on the site of the crash responded that "a comment on this issue will soon be sent to parliament," and any information will be made public.

Related: MH17 case investigators can't decrypt Russian images from the radar

Related: Relatives of MH17 victims demanded renewed search in Ukraine

Related: Remains found in luggage of Dutch journalist belonged to a victim of MH17 flight, - prosecutor’s office



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