Dutch FM ‘can’t rule out’ Kiev’s liability in downing of MH17 as it didn’t close airspace

The Netherlands cannot exclude Ukraine’s liability in the downing of flight MH17, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said on Thursday amid the ongoing probe, local media reports

Blok said that although there was no “hard legal ground” to hold Ukraine responsible for the tragedy, he could not “rule out anything.” The question as to why Ukraine was not held responsible was raised at the lower house by several parties, including the Party for Freedom (PVV), Dutch Socialist Party, Forum for Democracy, and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

The debate between the parties revolved around the observation that if the tragic event occurred over Ukrainian territory and in its airspace, why didn’t the country’s authorities take the necessary measures to protect itself from the attack. Although the Dutch Party for Freedom insisted on having Ukraine probed as well, the foreign minister said it would be “too far-reaching to intervene now.”

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FILE PHOTO. Reconstructed part of MH17 wreckage. © Michael Kooren

The report released by the Dutch Safety Board in 2015 confirmed that while it was hard to state with any degree of certainty who was behind the MH17 downing, the airspace over Ukraine should have been closed.

During the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin also raised the question of Ukraine’s responsibility, highlighting that while the West continues to pin the blame on Moscow, the obvious question of why Ukraine’s airspace wasn’t closed hasn’t yet been tackled.

Based on the allegation that the BUK missile system used to shoot down the plane was from the Russian 53rd brigade and was transported to eastern Ukraine, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had both the Dutch and the Australians claiming they had unequivocal evidence against Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the baseless accusations were used to harm Russia and taint its reputation “in light of the upcoming important international events,” while all the JIT wanted from Moscow was “to admit that it indeed was our military unit and our Buk missile system.”

READ MORE: ‘Certainly not’: Putin denies Russian missile shot down flight MH17

BUK manufacturer Almaz-Antey earlier proved that claims that the Russian military was in possession of the earlier generation projectiles, one of which was allegedly used to shoot down flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, were completely false.

Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke questioned the interim findings, arguing there was “no conclusive evidence” to pin the blame on Russia.

“But who’s responsible – you can’t just pinpoint at Russia,” the minister said on Wednesday, highlighting the importance of safeguarding good diplomatic relations by acting only on the basis of “conclusive” results.

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