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The Hague turns blind eye to Kiev’s role in MH17 crash, Russian diplomat states

Since 2014, many have questioned why Ukraine allowed civilian planes to continue flying over the zone of combat operations, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Sergei Bobylev/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, February 9./TASS/. The refusal of the Dutch government to investigate the fact that the airspace over eastern Ukraine remained open on the day that Flight MH17 crashed there, shows that The Hague seeks to absolve Kiev from culpability, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a commentary that circulated on Tuesday.

"Just a few days ago, the government of the Netherlands reported on the completion of a probe into the key - in our view - aspect in the case of the Flight MH17 crash: the role of Kiev’s authorities in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing," the Russian diplomat said.

"The saga regarding Ukraine’s responsibility, which is clearly inconvenient for the Dutch government, ends the way the official Hague, which turns a blind eye to all the wrongdoings of its subordinates in Kiev, would want this to end," Zakharova added.

Since 2014, many have questioned why civilian planes were allowed to continue flying over the zone of combat operations, and why Ukraine failed to close its skies to civilian aircraft flights, which is required by the 1944 Chicago Convention and rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the diplomat stressed.

"Instead of consistently studying Ukraine’s actions while taking into consideration the standards recommended by the ICAO, the experts limited themselves to a dry historical background and another round of analyzing statements by politicians with links to social networks," she explained.

"Meanwhile, the arguments provided by the Russian side and directly pointing to Kiev’s violations of the ICAO rules, were simply ignored, as we can see," Zakharova noted. "The essence of the investigation boiled down to excusing the inaction of the Ukrainian authorities substantiated by the argument that the Russian side, allegedly, failed to forecast the possibility of the crash of MH17 flight as well," she stated.

"And the fact that the incident occurred in the airspace of Ukraine, which is outside the zone of responsibility of the Russian Federation, is once again removed from the equation," she pointed out.

Earlier, the Netherlands opted against investigating why the airspace over eastern Ukraine remained open on the day of the crash. The decision is based on a 176-page report prepared by the Flight Safety Foundation, analyzing 34 crashes of civilian planes over conflict zones. One of the conclusions by the independent experts was that insufficient evidence had been established to indicate that the Ukrainian authorities responsible at that time for the safety of flights over eastern Ukraine, were aware or could have been aware of the threat to civilian aviation above that part of the airspace which had already been closed.

Based on that, the government stated on February 5 that it had no reasons for reviewing the findings that there were not enough grounds for holding Ukraine liable for not fully shutting down its airspace.

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 did not close its airspace over the Donbass region to international passenger flights.