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Netherlands reclassifies Donbas militant Tsemakh from witness at MH17 case to suspect

MEP Kati Piri believes that Russia’s demand on Tsemakh’s extradition shows that Moscow recognizes its guilt in the crash
18:49, 11 September 2019

nos.nl

The Netherlands reclassified Volodymyr Tsemakh, who was earlier considered to be a key witness in MH17 case, to a suspect as Deutsche Welle reported citing Dutch MEP Kati Piri.

According to her, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and Dutch Prosecutor spread the letter, which states that in accordance with the recent information appeared in summer, Tsemakh is considered as one of the suspects.

The insistent demand of Russia to extradite Tsemakh to it shows that Moscow recognizes its guilt in MH17 crash as Piri supposes. The MEP is sure that there is almost no chance that the JIT will be able to question Tsemakh.

“Of course we may ask Russia to provide him for the interrogation. But we are not that naive so much. If Moscow wants him to be summoned for the questioning, it will not underline the necessity of his extradition. That is why I am afraid that Tsemakh will never appear at the court as the witness,” the MEP supposed.

Related: Should Ukraine release MH17 case suspect Tsemakh?

Kati Piri became the author of the open letter signed by 40 MEPs on September 4. The lawmakers urged President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky not to extradite Tsemakh to Moscow.

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. 

On July 17, 2019, the Security Service of Ukraine stated that it detained Volodymyr Tsemakh, the ex-militant of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), involved in the transportation of Buk missile system, which downed MH17. He was detained during the crossing of the border with Russian controlled by Ukraine.

Related: PACE urges Russia to cooperate in MH17 case suspect Tsemakh interrogation

Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines, flight number MH17 was destroyed while performing a regular flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia in July 2014. The tragedy took place in the sky over the militant-held section of Donetsk region. All 298 people aboard deceased; most of the victims (196) were Dutch, but there were citizens of another nine countries as well.

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