THE HAGUE, October 2. /TASS/. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has sent a request to Russia to detain and extradite citizen of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Vladimir Tsemakh, spokesperson for the service Brechtje van de Moosdijk told TASS on Wednesday.
"The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service (OM) has submitted a request for provisional arrest of Mr Tsemakh to the competent Russian authorities on September 7th 2019, for the purpose of extradition to the Netherlands," she said.
In June 2018, Ukrainian intelligence agencies abducted Vladimir Tsemakh, a resident of the self-proclaimed DPR and former DPR air defense militia commander. He was secretly taken to Kiev from across the line of contact in Donbass. Tsemakh was among those released on September 7 in accordance with the agreement reached by Russia and Ukraine to swap detainees.
The information available suggests that the Dutch prosecution interrogated Tsemakh a few times. Prior to the swap, the service said that Tsemakh was a "person of interest" in the investigation and voiced hope that he would remain in Ukraine for the prosecution to have access to him. However, the Ukrainian side was only able to delay the swap a little bit which gave the Dutch time to question him again.
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. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash is made up of representatives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
In June, the JIT said it had identified four persons suspected of being behind the MH17 crash. They are three Russian nationals — Igor Girkin, also known under the nickname of Strelkov, Sergei Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov — and a Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko. The trial is scheduled to begin on March 9, 2020. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service underlined that the situation around Tsemakh does not hamper the prosecution process of these four people.