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Russia blasts Dutch officials for exploiting anguish of MH17 victims’ families

The Russian Foreign Ministry considers arguments behind the investigators' accusations unsubstantiated
The crash site of Malaysia Airlines' Boeing-777 passenger aircraft, November 11, 2014 Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS
The crash site of Malaysia Airlines' Boeing-777 passenger aircraft, November 11, 2014
© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. Officials in the Netherlands are taking advantage of the emotions and grief of relatives who lost their loved ones in the MH17 crash over Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the tragedy on Wednesday.

"Russia knows at first hand how hard it is to cope with such a great loss. Our citizens have fallen victim to aviation accidents more than once. We remember the 2001 tragedy over the Black Sea when a plane operated by Siberia Airlines was shot down by a surface-to-air-missile fired by the Ukrainian military," the statement reads.

"Regrettably, the Dutch authorities are increasingly playing with the emotions and grief of relatives of the MH17 victims. While appealing to the principles of justice and penalty for the perpetrators, they use their [formed by the relatives of those killed — TASS] associations as kind of a battering ram to push through assertions about Russia’s complicity and pin responsibility for compensation payments on our country," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

Moscow is certain that only "a truly depoliticized and professional approach to the investigation will make it possible to eventually establish the cause of the accident and find out the truth."

"We are calling on the Joint Investigation Team to focus on its primary objective, namely, the impartial analysis of all available data to determine the true causes of the accident and find the real perpetrators of the tragedy," the ministry stated.

At the same time, there were no accusations against Ukraine "over its failure to close its airspace over the armed conflict zone, although this has generated lawsuits against Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights," it stressed.

"However, despite the biased attitude, Russia remains willing to cooperate. We are confident that the pathway to truth lies only through dialogue and cooperation," the Foreign Ministry concluded.

MH17 crash

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Region on July 17, 2014. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crew, who were nationals of ten states.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), composed of representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, was set up to investigate the tragedy.

Russian officials have expressed mistrust by the results of the JIT’s work on numerous occasions drawing attention to the fact that the arguments behind the accusations were unsubstantiated. They also pointed to the team’s reluctance to use Moscow’s conclusions during the probe.