Australia recognizes the importance of the prisoners’ swap for Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia on September 7, 2019. However, it expressed the disappointment with the decision of Kyiv to extradite Vladimir Tsemakh to Moscow, as Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated.
“Australia is disappointed, however, that Mr. Vladimir Tsemakh, a person of interest in connection with the downing of MH17, was included in the exchange,” Payne stated.
Australian government asked the Ukrainian government to provide the possibility for questioning of Tsemakh by Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigators, including federal police of Australia.
Australia recognized that Ukraine faced great pressure from the Russian Federation concerning the inclusion of Tsemakh in the prisoners’ swap. Payne believes that it will be harder to bring justice toward Tsemakh if he lives in Russia.
She is sure that it will especially disappoint the families of MH17 victims.
The government of Australia welcomes the confirmation of the Prosecutor of the Netherlands that release of Tsemakh will not influence the beginning of the process against the other four suspects in the Dutch court in March 2020.
Australia is still committed to ensuring accountability for MH17 downing and achieving justice for victims and relatives.
Official Canberra urges all countries one more time to provide the appearance of the suspect in MH17 case before the court in accordance with 2166 Resolution of the UN Security Council.
Australia along with the Netherlands have begun the negotiations with Russian on its role in MH17 downing.
Previously, Ukrainian and Dutch authorities confirmed that Tsemakh was interviewed by investigators from the State Prosecutor's Office of the Netherlands before he left Ukraine and went to Russia; this is due to the exchange of prisoners that took place on September 7. Ukraine and Russia conducted the "35 for 35" exchange.