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Extradition of Tsemakh to Russia to not change anything in trial on MH17 case, - Bellingcat investigator

According to the expert, the Netherlands have sufficient evidence of Russia's involvement in the Boeing downing
18:08, 6 September 2019

Volodymyr Tsemakh
Radio Liberty

The extradition of Volodymyr Tsemakh to the Russian Federation will not change anything in the trial on MH17 case. Bellingcat investigator Christo Grozev said this in an interview with Radio Liberty.

According to Grozev, Ukraine and a Joint investigation team in the Netherlands could agree to release Tsemakh because the official investigation has sufficient evidence of Russia's involvement in the downing of Boeing.    

“Nothing will change from the point of view of the evidence base. The international investigative team has gathered so much objective evidence proving Russia's involvement, this will not change anything for the trial. Higher legitimacy, optical objectivity is what is taken away. Now in court there is no defendant to be protected by a lawyer who argues in favor of alternative versions, so, unfortunately, Russia and the Kremlin will always say that it was a one-sided trial. However, the trial itself will have enough legitimate evidence for the judge to make an objective verdict,” he said.

Grozev also expressed his opinion on why Ukraine agreed to put Tsemakh on the exchange list with the Russian Federation

“It was unexpected until yesterday evening when they learned that his case would be tried in court. Then there were suppositions that it is likely a preparation for the exchange of 33 or 34 prisoners of war on both sides. A week ago, we knew that an ultimatum has come from Moscow - if Mr. Tsemakh is not included in the lists, none of the 33 convicts in Russia would be released,” he says.

The investigator is also convinced that Ukraine has to share the details of exchange talks with the international investigation of Boeing tragedy. In his opinion, Russia's ultimatum on the extradition of Tsemakh would be “strong evidence” of its involvement in the downing of the aircraft.    

As it was reported earlier, key suspect in MH17 case Volodymyr Tsemakh included on the list for prisoners’ exchange between Ukraine and Russia.

On September 5, the Appeal Court released key suspect in MH17 case Volodymyr Tsemakh on personal recognizance. Prosecutor believes that Tsemakh may return to occupied Donbas.

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