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MH17 court hearings is attempt to manipulate facts for pre-determined concept — envoy

The diplomat underscored that flight recorders of the crashed plane had been handed over to the Malaysian officials
Second day of the trial of four men charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Second day of the trial of four men charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17
© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

BRUSSELS, March 12. /TASS/. The Dutch trial of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash is an attempt to manipulate facts in favor of predetermined concept, says Russian Envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov.

"It is a strange process. The first logical question you get is why this case is reviewed by some district — which means local — court in the Netherlands? Next — why does the court try four actually random people, none of whom, most importantly, is present in the courthouse? What is this all for? A point that this is being done to pacify and calm the victims’ relatives sounds more than dubious. I believe, it is done only to reopen their wounds whereas all of them, without doubt, deserve compassion," he noted.

Selective membership

Chizhov underscored that he oversees the entire MH17 crash story very carefully since day one, July 17, 2014.

"I can say that an attempt by a group of nations to determine the cause of MH-17 tragedy has very fast degraded to an attempt to manipulate all conclusions in compliance with pre-determined parameters. At no stage of existence of the so-called Joint Investigative Team (JIT) a question has been raised of why Ukraine is included in its membership, while Russia, on the contrary, is strictly forbidden from participating in its work. Malaysia, a country whose plane and whose crew conducted the flight, was included in the JIT after the Team had already begun its work. The investigation refuses to give answer why Ukraine failed to close its airspace over the military conflict region. It was their duty, which they failed to fulfill," the diplomat underscored.

Chizhov also recalled another key detail. "Few people remember that flight recorders of the Malaysian Boeing have been discovered, identified and officially handed over to the Malaysian officials [by representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic]. And Malaysian authorities confirmed that the flight recorders had been handed over untouched."

Pointing fingers

"If we talk about the EU’s official reaction to this tragedy, I can disclose a conversation I had with one colleague from a European body a few days after the catastrophe. He warned me: ‘Vladimir, cursor has shifted not in your favor.’ He meant the EU’s political course towards Russia. It was followed by the EU’s new economic sanctions against Russia," Chizhov noted.

Commenting on a statement made by High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell before the beginning of the court proceedings, calling on Russia to cooperate with the investigation, Chizhov said that "any statement, made either by the European foreign policy agency or any government, if made ahead of a court hearing, is nothing else but a bid to meddle in its proceedings.

"They try to point fingers at Russia. However, all these alleged arguments against Russia are built upon our alleged refusal to collaborate with the investigation, even though, all these years, it has been the other way around: Moscow offered a wide spectrum of evidence and radar data. It conducted serious investigative experiments and worked with the missile maker directly. However, no results of all this activity has been taken into account by the JIT."

The investigation

The Boeing-777 passenger plane operated by Malaysian Airlines crashed on July 17, 2014, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. As a result, 298 people were killed, the majority of them Dutch citizens. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, was established to investigate the crash.

Initially, the experts said that the plane was taken down by the Buk air defense system, and in 2019, they claimed that they had identified four people — three Russian and one Ukrainian national — suspected of involvement in the incident. According to the investigation, the four men were involved in delivering the Buk system from Russian territory to the location where the missile was fired.

The trial is being held amid substantial disagreements between Russia and the West as to whether one can rely on international investigators’ findings. Russian officials have repeatedly expressed distrust in the joint team’s work and pointed out that prosecutors’ arguments were groundless. They also stressed that international investigators were reluctant to use Russia’s conclusions in the course of the investigation.