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Dutch top diplomat confirms Boeing MH17 consultations with Russia

March 28, 18:49 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

According to Stef Blok, "recently, we held the first trilateral meeting"

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© EPA/ALYONA ZYKINA

THE HAGUE, March 28. /TASS/. Australia, the Netherlands and Russia began talks on the Boeing MH17 tragedy over Ukraine in July 2014, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok wrote in a message to the Parliament on Thursday.

According to the top diplomat, "recently, we held the first trilateral meeting." "However, to ensure the confidentiality of the process, the government will not make any statements on the topics discussed," Blok specified.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers, citizens of 10 countries, and 15 crewmembers. In spite of the active armed conflict on the ground, Kiev didn’t close its airspace over the Donbass region to international passenger flights.

In May 2018, Australia and the Netherlands said that they would seek to hold Russia responsible for complicity in the plane crash on the grounds of the provisional report published by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) claiming that the missile system that was used to down Flight MH17 could have been transferred from Russia and be a part of the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade near Kursk.

Moscow rejects the JIT accusations. Particularly, the Russian Defense Ministry said that no Russian army missile system had ever crossed the Ukrainian border. Moreover, the defense ministry’s representatives reported that they had identified the missile that was launched to down the Boeing and established that it was transferred over to the Ukrainian troops back in 1986 and had never returned to Russia since.

In February, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the Russian agreement to hold consultations on the Boeing MH17 with the Netherlands and Australia didn’t mean that Moscow took the blame for the tragedy. Zakharova stressed that Russia had only agreed to a meeting once The Hague and Canberra officially confirmed their willingness to discuss all the issues relating to the investigation.

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