Dutch Prosecutors Attach Almaz-Antey's Report on Photos of MH17 Wreckage to Case File

The Dutch prosecutors added the Russian arms industry company Almaz-Antey's report on the photographs of the wreckage found at the site of the MH17 plane crash to the case file, prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks said on Thursday.

"All the wreckage found at the crash site underwent a forensic medical examination. The Russian defence concern Almaz-Antey assessed photographs of the wreckage found at the site of the tragedy. Their conclusions on the photos and reports were attached to the case," Ridderbeks said.

According to the report, only the wreckage of the MH17 aircraft was found at the site.

The Dutch prosecutor's office is ready to take into account new data on the ongoing investigation into the 2014 downing of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine, Ridderbeks added.

The hearing on the merits of the case resumed earlier in the day in the Schiphol Judicial Complex.

Ridderbeks said that the probe by the investigating judge was still ongoing and recalled that back in 2020 prosecutors said they were always open to new information that could result in changes to the interim conclusion of the investigation.

The Malaysian Boeing bound for Kuala Lumpur crashed in July 2014 while flying over a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard. A Joint Investigation Team, set up by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine claims that the plane was downed by a Buk missile belonging to the Russian armed forces. Moscow has repeatedly rejected the allegations. Though Russia offered help in the investigation, it was denied full access to the probe.

Almaz-Antey, the Russian maker of advanced anti-aircraft systems, whose products include the Buk type air defence missile, carried out its own investigation into the MH17 crash, examining forensic evidence, declassifying secret information about its military hardware, and conducting a complex experiment based on ballistics, flight trajectory and other pertinent information. The Russian investigators concluded that an older variant of the Buk missile which was built in 1986 and had been phased out of Russia's arsenal during a military modernisation campaign in the early 2010s had been used to target and destroy the plane.

The MH17 court is trying Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, for their actions, which, according to Joint Investigative Team (JIT), led to the downing of the Boeing. Out of the four defendants, only Pulatov is represented by lawyers in the court.

MH17 Trial Continues in Netherlands

The main phase of the MH17 trial resumes at the Schiphol Judicial Complex. Earlier on Monday, opening statements in the trial were made, thus concluding procedural hearings that started in March 2020.

Meanwhile, the total number of reparation claims from families of the victims of the 2014 Malaysian jet crash in eastern Ukraine has reached 299, as the court began hearings on the merits of the case.

The MH17 court accused Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, for their actions, which, according to Joint Investigative Team (JIT), led to the downing of the ill-fated Boeing. Out of the four defendants, only Pulatov is represented by lawyers in the court.

Malaysia's approach to MH17 based on evidence, not politics - Malaysian ambassador to Ukraine

Malaysia is committed to achieve justice in the investigation into the downing of flight MH17, but its approach has always been based on evidence rather than political influence. In this context, the position of incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on the MH17 case does not differ from the position of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Malaysian Ambassador to Ukraine Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah said this in an exclusive interview with Ukrinform, when asked whether the Malaysian authorities' attitude to the MH17 case has changed since February last year, after the resignation of Mahathir Mohammad, who saw no convincing evidence that Russia should be held responsible for the MH17 crash.

"Despite the change in the Malaysian government and the leadership from Tun Dr. Mahathir to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in 2020, Malaysia's position on MH17 remains unchanged. We are still committed to the Joint Investigation Team process, and we still maintain that we want to have a transparent, credible and also effective process of the trial, based on the rule of law, in order for justice to prevail. So our approach has always been based on evidence, not to be influenced by any political motives," he said.

The ambassador added: " In that sense, we always reiterate that the downing of MH17 should not be attributed to any country until the District Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, has examined all the evidence and delivered its judgment later, which I think is going to be a long process."

He said that Malaysia would not take sides until the completion of the criminal investigation. "Other parties are free to file any legal actions, like what Ukraine is doing. So these are all parallel and alternative actions to seek justice," the ambassador said, commenting on two applications from the victims' relatives and a lawsuit filed by the Netherlands before the European Court of Human Rights to support the victims' relatives.

Malaysia is one of the five countries in the Joint Investigation Team, together with Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, and Ukraine, and has pledged to contribute $5.7 million for the trial. The money will be allocated in the first quarter of 2021 and will cover all expenses, including security, transportation, communication, facilities, including Ukraine's liaison office and other contingencies expenses, Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah said.

According to the ambassador, the MH17 tragedy has brought Malaysia and Ukraine closer. "I know this is a painful process for the family members but we are very pleased that finally, the trial has started in The Hague. There are four people who have been accused in the court. Although the trial is being conducted in absentia, meaning the accused are not present, we hope that at the end of the trial the family members of the 298 passengers and crewmembers will have something to say, 'Okay, now we know who is responsible for the downing of MH17.' For me it is important to seek the truth, but we must follow a true, credible and transparent trial," he said.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over conflict-hit Donbas in July 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. All of them died.

The international Joint Investigation Team reported that the plane had been shot down from a Buk missile system that belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.

The Hague District Court in March 2020 began to consider the case of the downing of flight MH17.


Ukraine extends the work Intl Mission for Protection of Investigation on flight MH17 until Aug

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on the ratification of the agreement in the form of an exchange of notes between Ukraine and the Netherlands to extend until August 1, 2021, the term of the multinational International Mission for Protection of Investigation dated July 28, 2014.

According to the presidential website on Friday, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the relevant agreement on February 16, 2021 at the president's initiative.

The agreement dated 28 July 2014 established the multinational International Mission for Protection of Investigation on the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The main task of the mission is to facilitate the collection of remains, the investigation, and other activities that may be agreed between the sides.

The agreement was concluded for a period of one year, and its effect was extended several times.

The law comes into force on the day of its publication.


Flight MH17 Trial Continues in Netherlands

Earlier, the District Court of The Hague said that on 7 June 2021, it would begin hearing the case of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

The MH17 criminal trial resumes at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS) in Badhoevedorp to prosecute four suspects over their alleged responsibility for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 in eastern Ukraine while on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 passengers (mostly Dutch) and crew on board were killed in the crash.

MH17: M’sian govt to spend RM23.32mil on Dutch trial, Dr Wee tells Parliament

The Malaysian government will spend RM23.32mil on the Dutch trial involving the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

"The trial is currently ongoing and the RM23.32mil is 30% of the trial cost which the government will bear next year to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice," he said when winding up his ministerial replies on Budget 2021 at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday. (Dec 7)

He added the trial comes after the conclusion of the Dutch Safety Board's initial probe and the subsequent criminal investigations by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Dr Wee said the allocation will cover both lawyers’ fees and court costs.

"The country has a responsibility as it involved the downing of a Malaysian aircraft whose perpetrators must be punished," he added.

MH17 was said to have been shot down by a BUK missile over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17,2014.

All 298 people on board, comprising 43 Malaysians, 193 Dutch nationals and 27 Australians, were killed.

Criminal charges were brought against four defendants in the District Court of The Hague at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS) in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands in March this year for allegedly shooting down MH17.

The four were Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.

In September this year, the Dutch government announced that it plans to take Russia to the European Court of Human Rights over the downing of MH17.

On a separate issue, Dr Wee said that Penang's ageing ferry service would be replaced with catamarans.

"The ferries are about 47-years-old and it's difficult to find replacement spare-parts. That is why we will be using catamarans," he said.

He reminded lawmakers that former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had agreed in 2019 to replace the existing ferries with catamarans.

On the exclusion of cars on the proposed catamaran service, Dr Wee said only 200,000 passengers with cars out of the 1.5mil passengers a year used the ferry service.

He added that Penang has two bridges and this provided an avenue for those with cars to travel to the island.

The last working Penang ferry suffered an engine breakdown in August this year, prompting a temporary suspension of the ferry service.


Russia says further MH17 consultations with Australia, the Netherlands are meaningless

Russia has withdrawn from talks with Australia and the Netherlands launched nearly two years ago to establish responsibility for the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Russia's foreign ministry said it was pointless to continue consultations with Australia and the Netherlands over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, accusing both countries of not seeking to establish what happened.

Russia said investigations conducted had been biased and politicised.

Dutch Foreign Ministry Says Probe Started Into Why Ukraine Did Not Close Skies Over MH17 Crash Site

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur went down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, at the height of the civil war between Kiev and Donbass militias. All 298 people aboard the Boeing 777 jumbo jet were killed. In the years since, Kiev and the militias have blamed each other for the tragedy.

The Flight Safety Foundation, an independent US-based non-profit, has begun an investigation into why Kiev did not close the airspace over the war zone in eastern Ukraine where MH17 was destroyed in July 2014.

"The inquiry has started, and is carried out by a third party, the Flight Safety Foundation. The inquiry will look at the closure of the airspace above eastern Ukraine and regions surrounding the conflict area (including the territory of the Russian Federation)," the ministry said.

Friday marks the sixth anniversary of the deadly aerial incident, which has since become the source of competing back-and-forth claims about who is responsible for the disaster. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte sent out a video message to the relatives of the victims, 193 of whom were Dutch nationals, where he emphasized the importance of honouring their memory.

"Unfortunately, the event was organized differently this year because of the coronavirus. But I am convinced that this does not lessen the sense of connection. And it makes the one minute of silence only more powerful," Rutte said.

MH17: Tragedy Turned Into Political Scandal

In addition to being one of the deadliest air disasters in history, the MH17 incident has become a major political scandal. Immediately after the crash, Kiev accused Donbass militias of shooting the plane down, with the pro-independence militia fighters insisting that they did not have the advanced air defence systems to down an airliner flying at over 21,000 feet, and blaming Kiev for the disaster.

Shortly thereafter, without presenting any evidence, the US and its European allies accused Russia of responsibility for the tragedy through Moscow's alleged support for the militias, and used the claims as a pretext to introduce new sanctions against Moscow. Russian officials denied the allegations.

An investigation conducted by a joint investigative team led by the Dutch prosecutor general alleged that flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made Buk anti-aircraft missile which had been transferred to the eastern Ukrainian militias. Russia was not allowed to take part in the investigation, and refused to recognize its conclusions. At the same time, Moscow has accused investigators of dismissing all evidence and expert assessments which ran counter to a predetermined conclusion of alleged Russian involvement, while ruling out possible Ukrainian military involvement. As their evidence, the joint investigative team investigators cited "classified information" allegedly provided by Dutch and US authorities which could not be revealed to the public.

Russia subsequently carried out its own investigation, including studies of forensic evidence, the declassification of previously secret information about advanced military hardware, and a complex experiment by defence concern Almaz-Antey, makers of the Buk type air defence missile, which concluded that flight MH17 was shot down by an older variant of the missile built in 1986 and belonging to Ukraine. Russia fully retired its stocks of Soviet-era Buks in the 2000s as part of a large-scale modernization of its military.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad has similarly questioned the investigators' allegations, accusing them of "trying to pin" the blame on Russia instead of engaging in a "neutral kind of examination," and complaining that Malaysia itself has not been allowed to examine the plane's black box. The ex-prime minister also pointed out that the Buk missile said to have been used to shoot down the plane could have been fired by Ukraine's army, and said that "strong evidence" would be needed before conclusions in such a serious case could be made.

Late last month, Dutch prosecutors moved to postpone further MH17-related hearings in a trial against three Russians and one Ukrainian charged in absentia with operating the Buk, from this autumn until February-March 2021 at the request of the attorneys and representatives of the victims. The trial, which began in March, was resumed in June after a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Russia itself is not a party to those proceedings.

In a related development, last week, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok announced that Amsterdam would be filing a lawsuit against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights over the MH17 disaster, and would be sending an official note on the matter to the United Nations Security Council. Russia's ministry of justice urged the Court to "evaluate its applicability" with the participation of all parties implicated, and reiterated that Moscow firmly rejects accusations of playing any role in the plane's destruction.

Moscow Slams Hague's Decision to Bring Russia Before European Court of Human Rights Over MH17 Crash

The news comes after the Dutch Public Prosecution Service agreed to delay the hearings from this autumn to February-March 2021, after a request by attorneys and representatives of the victims.

The Netherlands plans to file a lawsuit against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over the flight MH17 catastrophe, according to Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok.

The Dutch cabinet also plans to send an official note about the lawsuit to the UN Security Council.

The statement is issued as the Dutch court, holding the hearings at the Schiphol Judicial Complex in Badhoevedorp, declined a request by the defence to ask NATO to provide satellite data on the crash. According to the judges, the information from the AWACS aircraft "did not yield any relevant data for the investigation".

Previously, Ukraine also failed to present primary radar data on the incident, "as the radar was not operating at that moment".

Commenting on the hearing, Moscow stressed that the court has generally ignored the information provided by Russia, while unquestioningly accepting data from Ukraine, despite it being an interested party. ECHR Confirms It Received Dutch Claim Against Russia Over MH17 Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) confirmed on Friday that it had received the Netherlands' claim against Russia regarding its alleged role in the 2014 deadly crash of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

"We confirm that the Court has received an application filed by the NL [the Netherlands] Government and directed against the Russian Federation concerning flight MH17. It is currently under examination and further details will be given in due course," the ECHR said.

ECHR Has Not Notified Russia About Dutch Claim Over MH17 Crash

The Russian authorities have not received any notification from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about the Netherlands' claim related to the circumstances of the MH17 flight's crash over eastern Ukraine back in 2014, the Russian Ministry of Justice said on Friday.

"The Russian Federation authorities have not been notified by the ECHR about the Netherlands filing a claim against Russia over the Malaysian Boeing's crash in 2014 in the skies over Ukraine," the Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

The ministry added it would engage in necessary action in cooperation with relevant agencies if it was notified about the claim.

"Before considering the claim on the merits, the ECHR should evaluate its applicability, with the participation of the sides. This stage could last for several years. It should be noted that Russia firmly refutes accusations of playing a role in the Boeing's crash," the statement read on.

MH17 Crash Over Donbass

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was downed over the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, amid a military conflict in the county caused by a violent coup d'état in Kiev. Ukrainian forces in the area were clashing with militia from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic, which refused to submit to Kiev and expressed their intention to unite with Russia.

All 298 passengers on the aircraft, including 198 Dutch nationals, died in the crash.

Almost immediately after the incident, the US and its European allies claimed without presenting any evidence that Russia was responsible for the tragedy. These allegations were used by Washington and Brussels as a pretext to introduce sanctions against Moscow, while Russia repeatedly denied the accusations.

A Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed soon after the crash, invited Ukraine, Belgium, and Australia to join the probe, but excluded Russia from the investigation.

In 2018, JIT claimed that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile system, which allegedly came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian military, citing "classified information" provided by the Dutch and US authorities that could not be revealed. It was also noted that the team used images from social networks to prove the claims.

Addressing the allegations, Moscow conducted its own investigation showing that the Buk missile which allegedly hit the flight was made at the Dolgoprudny Plant in the Moscow Region in 1986, delivered to a military unit in Ukraine, and remained there after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, the evidence was completely ignored by the Dutch-led investigation.

After several years of investigating, JIT has named 3 Russian citizens (Oleg Pulatov, Igor Girkin, and Sergey Dubinsky) as well as one Ukrainian (Leonid Kharchenko) as suspects in the MH17 downing.

Dutch Prosecutors Agree to Postpone Malaysian MH17 Crash Hearings Until Early 2021

Netherlands Public Prosecution Service has agreed to postpone hearings in substance of the Boeing MH17 crash case from this fall to February-March of next year as requested by attorneys and representatives of victims, prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse said on Friday.

"If the legal team and representatives of relatives [of victims] need more time, the prosecution service will take it into account... Taking into account yesterday's letter from the council of relatives, we propose to approve a preliminary schedule of further substantive hearings and hold them in February-March of 2021 instead of this fall", Ferdinandusse said at a public hearing.

Ferdinandusse also said that prosecutors refused to look into viability of a scenario where the Boeing could have been downed by a Ukrainian military plane, as requested by attorneys of Oleg Pulatov, one of the suspects, Russian national. According to the prosecutor, considerations of an alternative scenario can only be launched if it is plausible, whereas all current evidence — including traces of damage on the plane and bodies, data from radars and intercepted phone talks — support the missile hit scenario.

"All this evidence suggest that the plane was downed by a Buk missile. Pulatov had to provide evidence that could refute this evidence", Ferdinandusse said.

Earlier this week, Pulatov's attorney Sabine ten Doesschate requested an inquiry into radar data to determine if any military aircraft were in vicinity of the downed Boeing on the crash day, claiming a precedent from 2001 when Ukrainian soldiers mistakenly downed Russian plane Tu-154.

Three other suspects — Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and Leonid Kharchenko of Ukraine — have their cases ready for substantial hearings, expected to begin in the fall.

The Malaysian jetliner crashed in July of 2014 while flying over a conflict zone in Ukraine's east from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed. The prosecution believes that the plane was downed by a Russian missile launched from Ukraine's breakaway east.


Defence at MH17 Hearing Suggests Ukrainian Armed Forces May Have Hit Plane by Mistake

The Ukrainian military may have hit the MH17 passenger plane in 2014 by mistake, Sabine ten Doesschate, the defence lawyer for Oleg Pulatov, said Tuesday.

The Dutch prosecutors consider the scenario unlikely, but the Ukrainian military had access to a large number of weapons, the lawyer said.

Ten Doesschate suggested that the Ukrainian military may have been mistaken, similarly to what happened in 2001 with Siberia Airlines Flight 1812, which was shot down over the Black Sea.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard. The accident is being investigated by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, which claim that the plane was hit by a Russian Buk missile. Moscow has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident.

Hearings in the case of the 2014 downing of flight MH17 in Ukraine resumed in the Dutch Schiphol Judicial Complex on Monday. At the current hearing, the defence is expected to present its position on issues that were previously raised by the prosecution, as well as voice its requests.

The prosecution, among other things, will have to explain why it requested more time to investigate the case against Pulatov before proceeding to consider his case on the merits.


Dutch Prosecutors Agree to Postpone Malaysian MH17 Crash Hearings Until Early 2021

Netherlands Public Prosecution Service has agreed to postpone hearings in substance of the Boeing MH17 crash case from this fall to February-March of next year as requested by attorneys and representatives of victims, prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse said on Friday.

"If the legal team and representatives of relatives [of victims] need more time, the prosecution service will take it into account... Taking into account yesterday's letter from the council of relatives, we propose to approve a preliminary schedule of further substantive hearings and hold them in February-March of 2021 instead of this fall", Ferdinandusse said at a public hearing.

Ferdinandusse also said that prosecutors refused to look into viability of a scenario where the Boeing could have been downed by a Ukrainian military plane, as requested by attorneys of Oleg Pulatov, one of the suspects, Russian national. According to the prosecutor, considerations of an alternative scenario can only be launched if it is plausible, whereas all current evidence — including traces of damage on the plane and bodies, data from radars and intercepted phone talks — support the missile hit scenario.

"All this evidence suggest that the plane was downed by a Buk missile. Pulatov had to provide evidence that could refute this evidence", Ferdinandusse said.

Earlier this week, Pulatov's attorney Sabine ten Doesschate requested an inquiry into radar data to determine if any military aircraft were in vicinity of the downed Boeing on the crash day, claiming a precedent from 2001 when Ukrainian soldiers mistakenly downed Russian plane Tu-154.

Three other suspects — Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and Leonid Kharchenko of Ukraine — have their cases ready for substantial hearings, expected to begin in the fall.

The Malaysian jetliner crashed in July of 2014 while flying over a conflict zone in Ukraine's east from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed. The prosecution believes that the plane was downed by a Russian missile launched from Ukraine's breakaway east.


MH17 Suspect Admits ‘Moral Responsibility’ for Downing Jet

A Russian suspect in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has said he feels “a moral responsibility” for the deaths of 298 people but refused to admit to downing the passenger jet, Britain’s The Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

Igor Girkin, 49, is one of three Russian suspects who, along with one Ukrainian suspect, are accused by a Dutch-led investigation of shooting down MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, during the war between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev. None of the defendants, who are also charged with murdering MH17's passengers, are expected to attend their trial in the Netherlands, which has been suspended until June.

“In as much as I was the commander of the rebels and a participant in the conflict, I feel a moral responsibility for these deaths,” Girkin told The Times.

Girkin, a Russian army veteran and ex-Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, was adamant that the pro-Russian separatists under his command “did not bring down the plane.”


Australian Police: some documents in the case of MH17, common platform Bonanza Media are authentic

The Australian Police confirmed that some documents in the case of MH17, common platform Bonanza Media are authentic.

It is noted that this document was prepared by Federal police as part of the ongoing investigation. Dutch prosecutors refused to comment on the authenticity.

One of the leaked documents contains a transcript of the conversation of German journalist Billy six’s with representatives of law enforcement agencies of Australia in relation to the witnesses who saw the day of the crash MH17 Ukrainian fighter jets.

The second document says that a year after the Australian disaster experts worked with non-original cropped images that, as it turned out, was edited.

In the third paper, Dutch intelligence concludes, has no information about the presence of any BUK missile system near the crash site of MH17.

The fourth document is a transcript of the conversation between the Dutch police with an unknown witness who is sure that few minutes before the tragedy two Ukrainian fighters appeared in that area.

By Thomas Channeton

No Buk missile systems detected near MH17 crash zone — leaked document

The July 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 took place in the region where no Buk missile systems were deployed at the time of the tragedy, according to a leaked document of the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service.

According to the document, sent to Dutch prosecutors, flight MH17 was flying beyond the range of all identified and operational Ukrainian and Russian locations where 9K37M1 Buk M1 systems were deployed.

Dutch journalist Max van der Werff, who founded Bonanza Media together with his Russian colleague Yana Yerlashova, said that for him, "the main conclusion is that the Dutch had information about the mobile Buk positions during the conflict."

"This information we had not seen before," he told TASS. "And the military, the Dutch, conclude that they have no information of any Buk missile systems close to MH17."

Three more documents

In all, four documents have been published. Apart from the report on Buk positions, the website revealed a transcript of a conversation between German independent journalist Billy Six and Australian police officers. In this conversation, Six mentions eyewitnesses who observed Ukrainian fighter jets in the sky on the day of MH17 incident.

Commenting on the information, van der Werff said he knew Six in person.

"With Billy Six document, I verified [it] with Billy, so it’s one of the reasons why we are sure the documents are genuine," he said.

Van der Werff refused to provide any information about who leaked the documents.

The third document reveals that Australian experts working on the case were analyzing non primary images/screenshots, which, as it turns out, were altered. For example, in one of the pictures, the date when it was modified is prior to the date when the file was created.

"Even after a year, the Australians did not have original photographs to test, using, like, sort of social media nonsense, cropped pictures. That was shocking for me, too," he said.

The fourth document is a transcript of a conversation between Dutch police officers and an unnamed eyewitness, who says he spotted two Ukrainian air force fighter jets overhead right before the incident. A few minutes later, he heard a loud bang and saw the passenger plane coming down.

The Boeing-777 passenger plane operated by Malaysian Airlines crashed on July 17, 2014, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in the east of the Donetsk Region. As a result, 298 people, citizens of 10 states, were killed in the crash. The parties to the armed conflict in Donbass accused each other of being complicit in the tragedy.

Despite active combat actions, Kiev did not close airspace over Donbass for international passenger flights. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was set up to investigate the tragedy, consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.In June 2019, the JIT said it had identified four individuals suspected of being involved in the MH17 crash. They are three Russian nationals Igor Girkin, also known under the nickname of Strelkov, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and a Ukrainian national, Leonid Kharchenko. The trial is scheduled to begin in the Netherlands on March 9. Russia’s authorities have repeatedly voiced doubt over the JIT’s findings, pointing to the lack of evidence and its reluctance to take into account Moscow’s conclusions made during the investigation.

The staggering allegations of a former officer of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on the shooting down of MH17.

Over five years ago, on 17 July 2014, flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, bound for Kuala Lumpur, but a few hours into the flight, radio contact was lost and the plane disappeared from radar. There were 283 passengers, including 80 children, and 15 crew members on board.

Watch video on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=243&v=gVMbCTWRcSs&feature=emb_logo

Fast forward to March 2019 when Vasily Prozorov, a former officer of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), makes a number of staggering allegations.

After extensive research, which includes previously unknown details of the shooting down of MH17,  he has compiled his evidence and presented it in the video below. He also exposes the inconsistencies in the official investigation.

Prozorov’s film is based on original documents from the Ukrainian special services and exclusive interviews with the eyewitnesses.

In an email he said, “It is my version of the aircrash and it is very important to know what ordinary people think about this tragedy and this film.”

Watch the video and make your own conclusions. Perhaps, you have more queries of your own.

The apparent suicide of a Ukrainian air force pilot. The mysterious disappearance of an airport dispatcher who had followed the flight of MH17. Both of them have important information. One is dead. The other is missing. Why? This generates more questions.

Identifying the missile is easy. It was a Russian-made BUK missile, but trying to identify (the man) who fired the missile, and on whose orders, has not been possible.

Many questions that have yet to be answered. It is curious, that suspicions immediately fell on the Russians, so why were their findings rejected?

Let us imagine that a man has been stabbed and the knife that is sticking out of him, appears to have come from my kitchen.

The knife may be mine, but does that mean that I stabbed him?

Watch the video and see what you think…

Here is an investigation timeline summary as reported by the BBC

October 2015: A 15 month investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) found that the Boeing 777 was still flying over eastern Ukraine, around 30 miles from the Russia-Ukraine border, when it was hit by a Russian-made BUK missile.

September 2016: An international team of criminal investigators claimed that the missile had been brought in from Russian territory and fired from a field controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

May 2018: A Dutch-led joint investigation team (JIT) said that the missile system belonged to a Russian brigade. Both Australia and the Netherlands said that they held Russia responsible for shooting down MH17.

June 2019: The JIT said that international arrest warrants had been issued for four men, whom they claimed had brought the missile into the area in eastern Ukraine.

(Rebuilding Malaysia: So who ordered the missile to be fired? Who is responsible?)

(NB: The video is not mine. It is Prozorov’s.)

By Mariam Mokhtar

The Netherlands refuses Moscow’s request to prosecute MH17 suspects

The Dutch justice minister, Ferd Grapperhaus, said the Netherlands refused a request by Moscow to consider allowing Russia to prosecute three Russian nationals identified as suspects in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the death of 298 civilians, two-thirds of whom were Dutch.

The first court hearing in the Dutch case against the three Russian suspects and one Ukrainian is scheduled for 9 March. If the suspects do not show up, the trial will continue without them.

“The justice minister answered that the transfer of prosecution of the three Russian suspects was not an option for the Dutch authorities and will not be considered”, Grapperhaus said in a letter to parliament about the progress of the case.

Russia, who denies the accusations, does not extradite its own citizens, meaning the Russian suspects are not expected to appear in a Dutch court. However, a Dutch law company has said that one of the Russian suspects in the case has asked it to represent him.

Malaysia Airlines: A history of ups and downs

Malaysia Airlines Berhad, colloquially known as Malaysia Airlines, is Malaysia’s flag carrier. The airline has been struggling for the past few years following several incidents involving one missing flight (MH370) and another being shot down over eastern Ukraine (MH17). Now, Malaysia Airlines - wholly owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund company – is considering selling its shares in a bid to recover from unprofitability.

On 20 January 2020, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that Malaysia Airlines had received five proposals. Sources say that the proposals were submitted by AirAsia, Malindo Air, Lion Air, Air France-KLM alliance and Japan Airlines. As the discussion for the proposal is confidential, the details were not revealed to the public.

The question now is whether this bid is a good move? Tracing back Malaysia Airlines’ history and past struggles might answer this question.  

Malaysia Airlines was founded in Singapore on 12 October, 1937 as Malayan Airways Limited. The first commercial flight was only boarded in 1947, some 10 years later. When the Federation of Malaysia was established in 1963, the airline’s name changed to Malaysian Airways. Then, following Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965, the airline’s name was changed again to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines before the airline ceased operations after six years in 1972 when both, Malaysia and Singapore decided to establish their own flag carriers – Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines.

During the 1980s, the economic boom in Malaysia helped MAS grow, and by the end of the decade MAS became the first airline in Southeast Asia to serve intercontinental flights to South America.

However, during the Asian Financial Crisis, just like other companies in Asia, MAS suffered losses against its financial year for about five years. One of the damage control efforts was to discontinue unprofitable routes out of Malaysia. In 2003, MAS recovered from its losses and achieved some profit before 2005 where it suffered another period of unprofitability due to rising fuel prices, escalated handling and landing fees, and other factors.

Idris Jala was appointed as the new CEO of MAS and launched its Business Turnaround Plan in 2006. MAS posted a record profit in 2007 ending a series of losses since 2005. Route rationalising was one of the major contributors other than improving MAS’ operation system.

In 2011, MAS recorded a net loss of RM2.52 billion (US$613 million) - the largest ever recorded in the company’s history - due to rising fuel costs. Idris Jala departed from MAS in 2009 to accept a position in the country’s Cabinet. The new CEO, Tengku Azmil Zahruddin took over the reins thereafter before newly-appointed CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, was appointed in 2011. Again, the first initiative was to discontinue the unprofitable routes. MAS then recorded profits in 2013 and became a member of the Oneworld Alliance, a leading global airline alliance.

In 2014, MAS struggled to compete with AirAsia, the now-famous Malaysian low-cost carrier. Then, the mysterious flight disappearance of MH370 in March 2014 added to its financial struggles. People started developing doubts about flying with the country’s flag carrier. 

The search for the missing plane has become one of the costliest endeavours in aviation history, centred around the South China and Andaman seas initially before shifting to the Indian Ocean. As a result, MAS’ stock went down as much as 20 percent following the disappearance of MH370 and fell 80 percent over the previous five years. 

Three months after the tragic MH370 incident, another Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17, was shot down while flying over Eastern Ukraine. The incident has become widely publicised because of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine between Russia and the Ukraine. These two incidents have greatly contributed to MAS’ financial year losses.

On the proposed recovery plan, Khazanah Nasional Berhad - then the majority shareholder of MAS - announced that it would buy the shares of minority shareholders. MAS will compensate shareholders with premium closing price shares as part of Khazanah’s plan to restructure and rebrand MAS.

On 29 August 2014, Khazanah issued a report on the recovery plan that included cutting off 6,000 staff and focusing on regional destinations rather than long-haul routes. In 2015, MAS rebranded its name to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) and appointed a new CEO, Christoph Mueller. 

In less than a year, Christoph resigned from the post, citing changing personal circumstances as the reason. It was announced in 2016 that the new CEO, Peter Bellew would take over. He too decided to resign a year later. Currently, Captain Izham Ismail, a former Malaysia Airlines pilot is the new CEO of MAB. 

Following the numerous CEO changes and to recover profitability – Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the parent company of MAB spearheaded by the government of Malaysia – has come up with an idea to offer the company’s shares to airline companies who can propose a strategic plan en route to profitability.

With little details available to the public, several major newspapers in Malaysia have speculated that the Malaysian government and Khazanah are leaning towards selecting the AirAsia Group for this plan. The AirAsia Group has proposed to take over the shares offered by Khazanah and for AirAsia X Berhad to merge with Malaysia Airlines, potentially making the merged company a Malaysian/ASEAN champion competitor. 

Proposals have been submitted by foreign carriers as well. The Air France-KLM alliance has proposed to take a 49 percent stake while Japan Airlines wants a 25 percent stake in Khazanah. This is not a surprise as the relationship between Malaysia and Japan has been improving following the samurai bond issuance by Japan in 2019. Things may not be so smooth with an Air France-KLM alliance though, as both parties belong to different airline alliances: Oneworld for Malaysia Airlines and Skyteam for Air France-KLM.

The bids are still being reviewed and Malaysia needs to carefully consider the proposals made. As Malaysia Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a national symbol, the decision made by Malaysia will be crucial in deciding the future of the aviation industry in the country.

Wahab Jumrah

Families of MH17 victims prepare to go to Europe for trial

Before retired Wollongong teachers Carol and Michael Clancy departed on their first holiday in Europe in 2014, they left their trip schedule with family to let them know where they would be.

The last entry of their schedule read: "Home sweet home."

They never made it home. They were among 298 passengers and crew killed when Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

More than five years later, family of the couple are preparing to travel to Amsterdam to sit in a court's public gallery next month to watch the start of the criminal trial.

Lisa and Brian Clancy, from the NSW town of Singleton, will attend the opening days of the trial, which begins on March 9, because they want to see justice carried out and feel they owe it to their loved ones to be there. "Our lives have stood still since 2014. It has damaged thousands of families; just destroyed their lives," Mrs Clancy said.

They are travelling to Europe "under no illusion" that any of the accused will front court.

For the Singleton couple and other family, the passage of time has not made coming to terms with loss any easier. In fact, Mrs Clancy said she felt angrier about the injustice of the act, which claimed the lives of 38 Australian citizens and residents.

Jon and Meryn O'Brien, who lost their son Jack, aged 25, on MH17 also intend to attend the opening of the hearing with their daughter Bronwyn.

"We don't know what will happen in the first few days. There is a lot of uncertainty. We don't know what challenges will be put up.

"The prosecuting team have said they are expecting it [the trial] to take one and a half to two years but if there are challenges it could run for four to six years."

District Court of The Hague: One of suspects ready to stand trial on MH17 case

At least one of the suspects in the MH17 downing probe is ready to stand trial. The relevant information has been reported by the District Court of The Hague

However, the court did not disclose the name of the suspect.

At the same time, according to de Rechtspraak, the website that is managed under the responsibility of the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands and aims to inform the public about the MH17 trial, a law firm has recently been reported for the defendant, but the court "will not release the name of the firm and does not specify for which suspect(s)."

ECHR refuses to consider complaint of MH17 ex-witness Tsemakh

The European Court of Human Rights has rejected the complaint of Volodymyr Tsemakh, the ex-witness in MH17 case, and refused in the ban of his extradition to the Netherlands.

“We are disappointed with the ECHR decision to reject our request for the approval of interim measure, which would allow to ban the extradition of Tsemakh to the Netherlands,” his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said.

Besides, he added that despite such a decision of the Strasbourg court, he will continue to look for other ways to prevent the extradition.

“The statement of the ECHR that the replies to all requests were filed to my address is weird. I did not get anything from the ECHR; it is unknown where they filed them,” the lawyer reported.

Opinion: Why Governments Must Decide When Not To Fly

by Mark Zee

Until Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down just before dawn in Tehran on Jan. 8, the tempting narrative was that the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 was a black swan event.

Iran’s acknowledgment that it shot down PS752 removes that doubt and painfully validates our 5.5 years of work on airspace risk awareness, but it also makes clear that this work was not enough to prevent a repeat tragedy. It is now evident that governments must play a more active role in preventing airlines from flying in conflict zones.

The work the aviation industry has done post-MH17 has not been for nothing. Far from it. Cooperation and collaboration around risk among airlines and among government departments, which was largely frowned upon before MH17, has become acceptable.

Risk awareness is higher than ever before. Information-sharing has moved from small, closed circles to large, open groups.

But underlying that work was an uncertainty around the need for it all. The reason: Risk is nebulous.

A decision to avoid risk averts a situation that might occur. Despite the usual scales of low, medium, and high, the true likelihood is always low. There is no data to provide answers afterward: What did not happen cannot be measured. Airline security managers are therefore under tremendous pressure. Money spent on risk avoidance has no clear billing code. But the temptation to err on the side of saving costs is ever present.

Herein lies the impasse. The ultimate final decision in approach to risk lies with the airline or aircraft operator, which is in most cases a business. Passengers and pilots have an undeniable first priority to stay alive.

A business has the same priority, of course. Every decision in a business will ultimately be a commercial decision to ensure it stays alive. This explains why airlines continued to fly to Tehran even when it was abundantly clear this was a shootdown event.

A lesson from the last five years of our work is that like businesses under pressure to fly through conflict zones, countries cannot be relied upon to close risky airspace or issue damaging guidance about their own territories. Iran is not alone in this. A string of other nations have made similar decisions: Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Turkey.  Only on one occasion—Pakistan, in 2019—has a national authority closed its airspace for reasons of conflict-zone risk. Governments have more pressing motivations in trade, tourism and commerce. This will not change.

And yet government involvement is what is needed to solve things. The civil aviation industry has done what is within its power—there are no new initiatives that can take us further.

The position that aircraft operators are solely responsible for making risk decisions favors the handful of large airlines that have the resources to continually assess risk. The overwhelming majority cannot. For thousands of operators, relying on internal or external support to make qualified, informed essential risk decisions is simply not practical. The operational staffing of even a medium-size airline is small, especially at night, when most rapid-onset risk situations occur.

Right now, only a handful of countries are active in prohibiting their carriers from risky areas. But it works.

On the night in question, the U.S. had issued a notice to airmen that prevented its pilots and carriers from operating in Iran, several hours before the shootdown. If there were going to be an incident, it would not involve a U.S. aircraft.

When the U.S. prevents its carriers from flying through a conflict zone, many airlines follow—especially when backed up by Germany, France or the UK. But no system, organization or clear channel exists for that information to be passed to all concerned. This must change.

Each state has a duty to care for its citizens. Most governments have the resources to assess risk. This duty of care needs to be extended to pilots and passengers aboard aircraft.

In the first weeks of 2020, international travel advice about Iraq and Iran from the foreign affairs departments of many countries was clear: Do not travel. That same advice needs to extend to aircraft operators: Do not fly. 

Mark Zee is the founder of Opsgroup, an organization of 7,000 members working in international flight operations that share information to improve awareness of risk, operational procedures and changes after MH17 exposed the lack of collaboration in the industry. He also manages Safe Airspace: The Conflict Zone & Risk Database.

Maria Zakharova: Dutch foreign minister’s speculations over plane crash in Iran impermissible

Russian news agency Tass published a statement of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova about the MH17 case. She said, that Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok’s attempts at drawing parallels between the MH17 disaster over Donbass in 2014 and the loss of Ukraine’s passenger liner near Tehran on January 8 this year for advancing biased accusations against Russia are devoid of sound logic and therefore impermissible.

"We believe that the chief Dutch diplomat inappropriately used the tragedy in Iran, which has its own causes and special features, for another series of attacks against Russia and for advertising The Hague’s own hackneyed, subjective approaches to the MH17 flight disaster. Now, in connection with the loss of flight PS 752 Blok has demanded that Russia should present what he described as satisfactory answers to a number of questions Joint Investigation Team questions. Without feeling even a little bit shy over the absence of proven facts Blok has come out with some personal feelings Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov feels somewhat uneasy whenever the MH17 issue is raised and that Russians should better recognize their guilt and agree to pay compensations to the relatives of those who died in the disaster, thus easing tensions," she said.

"Speculations over the Iranian tragedy aimed at propping up biased charges against Russia, is first and foremost impermissible and mean in relation to the victims’ relatives and dear ones," Zakharova said. "Blok’s ultimatum-like demands Russia should plead guilty to the loss of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine for the sole reason a Ukrainian plane has been shot down in Iran are inappropriate, unacceptable and devoid of any sound logic."

Zakharova recalled that Russia had provided sufficient evidence in the MH17 case testifying that all charges against it were absolutely groundless.

"Once again Blok overlooked Ukraine’s obvious complicity in the disaster, although it was Kiev that had failed to close the airspace over the zone of hostilities in defiance of the Dutch parliament’s concerns, expressed in this connection."

Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777 (Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur) was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The disaster claimed the lives of all 298 passengers and crew on board. Austria, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Russian officials have repeatedly expressed distrust towards its activities and pointed to groundless charges and the reluctance to use the conclusions of the Russian side in the investigation.

A Boeing-737 of Ukraine International Airlines crashed on January 8 minutes after leaving Tehran airport. None of the 176 passengers and crew on board survived. Later, Iran recognized that its air defenses had downed the plane by mistake.

Lessons have not been learned...

Europe’s pilots are shocked and deeply saddened by the downing of Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 in Iran and the killing of all 176 people on board.

This comes only a few years after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), in 2014. It is tragic proof that some lessons from MH17 on flying into or over conflict zones have not been learnt. Europe has no effective system in place to reduce those risks. The airspace over Ukraine and Iran should have been closed.

Having seen major airlines continue flying to Tehran in the days after the shooting down – despite the security threat – European pilots call for urgent and pragmatic solutions.

“It is clear that we cannot rely on conflict-stressed states to restrict or close their own airspace. We must in principle rely on our national authorities and our airlines to make sure that the lives of passengers and crew are adequately protected and this unchecked risk is addressed,” says ECA Secretary General Philip von Schöppenthau.

”However, purely national, uncoordinated action has not done the job in the past and won’t do it in the future,” he continues. “Individual Member States clearly do not share their security intelligence about conflict zones sufficiently to provide protection. As long as this is the case, and nothing substantive occurs through a dedicated European structure, we will see further flights taking unnecessary risks.”

“What we urgently need is a method of sharing and acting, not upon closely guarded intelligence, but upon the outcome of risk analysis about conflict zones. With these outcomes from different European airlines and states swiftly shared amongst each other and authorities, no European airline or pilot should be left in the dark – all have the opportunity to benefit from the effect of the privileged information of the best informed”, says ECA President Jon Horne. “Whilst many believe there should be an EU or international authority to take responsibility for the closure of hostile airspace, it is not something that shows any sign of happening soon, and so we need a pragmatic, industry-based setup that can provide meaningful protection in the here and now.”

Such a setup might not be perfect, but a stopgap solution is necessary and it was necessary five years ago when the MH17 was shot down over Ukraine as local authorities did not want to close the airspace. It could be an industry held database of current risk assessment outcomes and default procedures for any new armed conflict. It could even be a simple rule of “TWO OUT – ALL OUT”: If at least two Member States and/or two major airlines decide to not fly into a specific block of conflict-affected airspace, this decision would be taken up by all other (EU) states and airlines until the situation is clarified. This means that passengers and crew on all airlines would benefit from the secret and non-sharable intelligence available to some ‘privileged’ authorities and airlines, and by looking only at public outcomes of their risk assessments.

“These ideas are neither conventional, ideal, nor the only solutions,” says ECA Secretary General Philip von Schöppenthau. “But the international failure to effectively cope with flying over and into conflict zones keeps costing lives.”

Five proposals received for ailing Malaysia Airlines: Mahathir

Malaysia has received five proposals for its debt-laden national carrier Malaysia Airlines, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed said at a group media briefing on Monday (Jan 20).

“There are about 5 proposals but of course some of them are just no go,” Dr Mahathir said, without giving more details.

“We need to listen to everybody to find out what is the best solution.”

The Malaysian government has been seeking a strategic partner for the financially struggling airline, which is still recovering from two tragedies in 2014, when flight MH370 disappeared in what remains a mystery and flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Taken private by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional in 2014, the national carrier has been struggling to post a profit.

Prosecutor General’s Office continues working on MH17 case

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), which is part of the international and national investigation groups to investigate the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight МН17, will continue their work on this criminal proceeding, the PGO’s website has said.

“The prosecutor’s office includes seven prosecutors in the international investigation team and 11 prosecutors in the national investigation team. They will continue to work on this criminal proceeding at the Office of the Prosecutor General. This will ensure a high level of professionalism and preserve institutional memory in the investigation of the deaths of 298 passengers Malaysian Airlines flight MH17,” PGO said.

Surprising events in the MH-17 investigation

Shortly after the beginning of the MH17 trial, senior prosecutor Fred Westerbeke became the head of the Rotterdam police, the head of the Ukrainian MH17 investigators was also dismissed.

Before the MH-17 process begins, everything seems to move. Fred Westerbeke, who headed the JIT investigation as a public prosecutor, also responsible for other investigations in the field of terrorism and organized crime, will become the head of the Rotterdam police force on April 1. The move is a remarkable decision shortly after the start of the process in early March, which is planned until 2021 and is expected to take place under strict security conditions.

According to the media reports, it does not appear to be known who will become Westerbeke's successor. The prosecutor replaces Frank Paauw, who became Amsterdam's chief of police in the spring. So there was a gap to fill, especially since Westerbeke had started his career as a police officer and then as a public prosecutor in Rotterdam. But taking him out of the job at the beginning of the politically high mammoth process suggests at least a change in attitudes. Was one not satisfied with Westerbeke's investigation, was he too fixated on Russia, but what the Dutch government was and is, or is it too lax?

Most recently, despite intervention by the Dutch government, Vladimir Zemak (Tsemakh), who was described as an important witness and ultimately a suspect, was lost due to the prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia. He might have been the only witness / suspect who can be interviewed in court or through a video link. The four other suspects will not appear in court. Zemak, who is accused of participating in a terrorist organization (the "Donetsk People's Republic") and hiding the Buk system, which is on very shaky legs, had been kidnapped to Kiev by the Ukrainian secret service and was supposed to be there against offers, as he claims to testify against Russian suspects.

The new Ukrainian government considered the prisoner exchange more important than the MH17 witness. Now he is back in Donetsk and should not be extradited by Ukraine as a citizen (Dutch parliament calls for an investigation against Ukraine). The Dutch public prosecutor has announced that she sees Zemak as a suspect but does not yet know if she will file suit against him. This leaves the game open, but looks very tactical. Didn't Westerbeke want to play in it? Zemak himself has brought an action against the Netherlands before the ECJ.

There was also a surprising turnaround in Ukraine, if the information is correct, which Larisa Sargan, the former spokeswoman for the Attorney General Yuri Lutsenko, who was deposed by the new President Zelensky, recently shared on her Facebook. After that, the Ukrainian prosecutor, the head of the Ukrainian MH17 investigation team, was released. Apparently Westerbeke immediately went to Kiev and wanted to meet with the Attorney General Ruslan Rjaboshapka, who has been in office since August. But Sargan is said to have had no time for him, only his deputy, a colleague from the Netherlands.

She suspects that the Ukrainian secret service SBU wants to merge the investigation and that Russia could play a role in this. But it does not seem to be well-liked by the new government, so it is not necessary to believe its claims.

Florian Rötzer

Public Prosecution Service speaks with relatives of MH17 victims

The MH17 process starts in March, the Public Prosecution Service has had dozens of conversations with relatives in recent weeks. The aim was to hear from them what influence the MH17 disaster and everything related to it has on their lives - nos.nl

A total of 75 interviews were held with family members of the 196 Dutch victims of flight MH17. That happened at police stations in several cities. A delegation from the Public Prosecution Service, the police and Victim Support were there in Australia at the beginning of this month to speak with fifty relatives of Australian victims.

Such a conversation with a public prosecutor is a legal right for the relatives. Digna van Boetzelaer, deputy chief prosecutor, says: "Some people said it brings up more than they expected. But afterwards they were also very grateful and said: I needed to tell my story, and someone to listen to me. "

Wim van der Graaff - he lost his son Laurens (30) and his girlfriend Karlin - is happy with the conversation he had in Hoofddorp with a public prosecutor: "It was very special, because this is a part of the official indictment of what has happened to us. It is very nice that we were heard so personally. That has been a very good feeling. "

When it comes to the MH17 process, Wim van der Graaff deliberately lowers his expectations. "I have my doubts about whether something will be achieved in the long term. I am prepared for disappointment. "

He is nevertheless happy to contribute. "I will use my right to speak in the process. That is the only way for me to get the feeling that I am doing something about it".

Russia To Provide Netherlands With Information About MH17 Crash

Russia is ready to provide to the Netherlands information proving that the airspace above Donbas was not closed on the day of the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash, Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's permanent representative to the European Union, said on Monday.

"I have not yet seen statements by the Netherlands' foreign minister. I can tell you that Russia was initially ready to provide the joint international team investigating the incident with the information gathered soon after the incident, including the information about the aspect that you have just mentioned ... Unfortunately, the group has ignored our suggestions, but we remain ready to cooperate on clarifying all the circumstances behind the incident. Court hearings will begin in March, and we are ready to present the data that we have," Chizhov said during a video conference at the Rossiya Segodnya International news Agency, when asked to comment on media reports suggesting that the Netherlands has asked Russia to cooperate on investigation into the non-closure of the airspace above eastern Ukraine.

Flight MH17 crashed with 298 people on board on July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, leaving no survivors. Ukraine and the self-proclaimed republics in Donbas have blamed each other for the incident.

The crash is being investigated by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, which claims that the aircraft was downed by a missile originating from the Russian Armed Forces. The Russian Foreign Ministry has refuted the accusation as groundless and called the investigation biased.

Tsemakh files lawsuit to ECHR against Ukraine, the Netherlands

Volodymyr Tsemakh, the suspect in the case of MH17 downing, filed the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Ukraine and the Netherlands

According to the lawyer of the suspect, the complaint concerns the conditions of detention and confinement in Kyiv. Besides, Tsemakh stated about the use of psychotropic drugs against him.

“I filed the complaint to the ECHR in the interests of Tsemakh. I do not possess any detailed information; we wait for the further course of events,” lawyer of Tsemakh, Anatoly Kucheren said.

Eliot Higgins, the founder of the international group of the journalists and investigators Bellingcat, said: "It, sooner, reflects the perverse nature of the whole situation. First of all, with the release of Tsemakh by Ukrainian court within the prisoners’ exchange between Ukraine and Russia, despite the fact, that he is Ukrainian; then his escape to Russia and then the refusal of Russia to cooperate with the Netherlands on his detention and now this case".

How MH370 and MH17 changed the way we think about air travel

Thirty-three Australians were tragically killed in two air disasters which shrouded 2014 and the years which have followed in sadness, anger and frustration.

Both incidents, which left a total of 537 passengers dead, forever seared the flight code of Malaysia Airlines into the consciousness of Australians.

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or MH370, remains perhaps the greatest mystery of aviation and the subject of intense speculation.

Of the 227 passengers, six were Australians. On the morning of March 8, they boarded the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and expected to step off in Beijing, China. The plane never arrived, and the search for the missing jet became the most costly in aviation history. The most likely scenario involved someone in the cockpit of Flight 370, probably Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, re-programming the aircraft's autopilot to travel south across the Indian Ocean.

The downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, just four months later, appeared far more clear cut. All 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed, including 27 Australians.

A total of 33 Australians were needlessly killed in two air disasters in quick succession.

In the MH17 disaster, the lives of Perth parents Anthony Maslin and Marite "Rin" Norris were ripped apart in the most devastating way.

They lost their three children – Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8 – and Ms Norris' father, Anthony, when the jet was shot down. Their three children had been returning home to Perth for school, while they had stayed behind in Amsterdam.

Why it matters?

A nation of great travellers, Australians want to feel safe as we journey abroad. But there were also broader implications in both stories.

MH17 threw the spotlight on Moscow's intervention in the Ukraine and its likely hand in the disaster, despite denials.

What happened in the cockpit of MH370 continues to intrigue. A picture began to emerge of Captain Zaharie's mental health. Had Malaysia Airlines done enough not only to support a troubled pilot, but also spot the warning signs of an employee struggling with mental illness?

Malaysia Airlines came under intense pressure over its investigation. The carrier and Malaysian government were accused by families of MH370 victims of obscuring the truth. When disasters strike, people need and expect clarity from leaders and those in power.

What has changed?

Family members of victims are pushing for international law changes which will oblige countries embroiled in civil wars to close their airspace.

In the modern age, it was unthinkable a plane like MH370 could simply disappear. In 2016, a new aviation standard meant all aircraft over open ocean report their position every 15 minutes. The 30-day battery life of a plane's underwater locator beacons has also been increased to 90 days, beginning 2020.

Hit with two devastating disasters, Malaysia Airlines renationalized on 1 September 2015, in an attempt to avoid financial uncertainty. Meanwhile, families of the victims of MH370 and MH17 are still fighting for compensation in civil suits.

Dutch journalists discover large pieces of wreckage at MH17 crash site

Dutch prosecutors say that the cause of the MH17 crash has been determined but skepticism still remains, the journalist says.

Some large pieces of wreckage still remain at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, Eric van de Beek, a journalist with the Novini media outlet told TASS on Monday.

A new article dedicated to the MH17 crash, published at the media outlet’s website, contains a number of photos and a video showing pieces of wreckage, which apparently include the aircraft’s tail-plane, pieces of aircraft covering, pieces of a wing and an oxygen generator. "They are so big that they even can be seen using Google Earth," van de Beek said. "Very much to our surprise no Dutch paper or program has reported this news. I knew that what we are doing is Samizdat, but that the big media in The Netherlands leave this major discovery unreported is beyond me," he added. "If it’s of no interest to the Dutch media and authorities, maybe the Donbass authorities can hand the parts of the wreckage over to the Russian authorities, for them to research what happened to MH17," the journalist noted.

"The question is how important these pieces of wreckage are," the article’s author Stefan Beck said. "A single bolt helped determine the cause of the Bijlmer crash [which occurred in Amsterdam in 1992]. Dutch prosecutors say that the cause of the MH17 crash has been determined but skepticism still remains as no one is studying the wreckage that has been there for a long time," he pointed out.

The 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 and 15 crewmembers. There were nationals of ten states among the dead. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash comprises representatives of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

On May 24, the Team gave an update of the state of affairs in the criminal investigation, claiming that "the BUK-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade... a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation."

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad. The ministry noted that Moscow had provided Dutch investigators with overwhelming evidence proving that a Ukrainian Buk missile system had been used to bring down the aircraft.

Former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's MH17 Taskforce Matthew Anderson to take war memorial reins

A career diplomat who helped lead the response to the tragic downing of MH17 in Ukraine will become the next director of the Australian War Memorial.

Australia’s deputy high commissioner to the UK and former ambassador to Afghanistan, Matthew Anderson, will succeed Brendan Nelson in the role in 2020 and is expected to start in March.

Before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Anderson spent eight years as an Australian Army officer, including three as a troop commander in the Royal Australian Engineers in 1988-91. He has 32 years experience in government — including his army stint — and served as high commissioner to Samoa in 2007-11 and to the Solomon Islands in 2011-13.

After finishing with the army in 1995, Mr Anderson joined DFAT as a graduate. Nearly 20 years later, he served as the head of the MH17 task force after the aircraft was downed in Ukrainian airspace in July 2014, killing 298 passengers, including 38 Australians.

Flight MH17 families seek answers

Five years go, when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, Piet Ploeg lost members of his family. He hopes the investigation will bring responsible to justice.

On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam, bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As the Boeing 777 flew over eastern Ukraine, it crashed, killing all 298 people on board, including 80 children. Ploeg says "this day changed everything." 

Piet lost his older brother Alex, his sister-in-law and his nephew when flight MH17 was shot down. His brother, a passionate biologist, had wanted to take his wife and son on a trip to the tropics. While their remains have been found, those of Ploeg's brother still has not.

Ploeg says nobody and no luggage has so far been retrieved. Even so, he is hopeful because "several hundred fragments which have not yet been identified will be analyzed using high-end technology — but the results will only be available by June or July next year."

His brother's daughters did not join their dad on the flight to Malaysia. Now, Ploeg looks after them. The younger of the two wants to become a biologist, just like her late father. Ploeg says the death of his brother Alex, his wife and their son "dealt a severe blow" to their parents, who died in 2019. After the death of his brother, Ploeg — like many other relatives and family members of those killed in the MH17 crash — needed psychological counseling. He also quit his job as a public administrator near Utrecht.

Today, Ploeg is a director of Vliegramp MH17, a foundation representing the vast majority of those who lost loved ones on that fateful day in July 2014. He works on a pro bono basis, helping prepare the March trial, assisting others who lost family members and friends in the tragedy.

Ploeg told DW he is often asked about his view of Russia and Ukraine. "They all think I hate Russians, but I don't," he explains.

He never used to follow developments in Eastern Europe, but that all changed after July 2014. Now, he is eager to get his head around the Ukrainian conflict and wants to know, above all, who carries responsibility for the attack on flight MH17.

"We want to learn about the structures behind the people who shot down this plane, and how they did it," he says.

MH17 Suspect Tsemakh's Daughter Says Her Father 'Not Hiding From Anyone'

The daughter of Vladimir Tsemakh, the ex-commander of one of the air defence units of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said on Tuesday that her father was not hiding and that no representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which has placed him on a wanted list, had contacted them.

"We haven't received anything by either mail or the Internet, no one has gotten in touch with us, my father is not hiding from anyone. This was anticipated, [the SBU] needs some kind of new 'buzz' around this case, hence these statements," Maria Tsemakh said.

The daughter's statements come as the Interior Ministry of Ukraine updated its website earlier in the day listing Vladimir Tsemakh, who had previously been called an eyewitness by Kiev in the case of the 2014 MH17 crash in Donbas, as a wanted person. His data was posted in the "Persons hiding from the authorities" section with the date of his disappearance — September 23. It is said he is "a person hiding from bodies of pretrial investigation."

In June, the former commander was abducted by the Ukrainian special forces and taken to Kiev. He was subsequently released in early September in a prisoner swap with Russia and returned to Donetsk.

Flight MH17 crashed with 298 people on board on 17 July 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, leaving no survivors. Ukraine and the self-proclaimed republics in the Donbass region have blamed each other for the incident.

MH17 case: Ukraine puts suspect Tsemakh on wanted list

Tsemakh is thought to be a witness of committing a terrorist act that resulted in casualties.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has put Volodymyr Tsemakh on the wanted list.

The relevant information has been posted on the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

The date of disappearance is defined as September 23, 2019.

He is wanted as a person hiding from the investigating authorities.

Ukraine's spec-ops forces managed to detain Tsemakh, who is a citizen of Ukraine, in the town of Snizhne in late June 2019. He was reportedly a commander of an anti-aircraft unit in Donbas back in 2014.

Russia let MH17 suspect return to Ukraine, say Dutch

Dutch prosecutors accused Russia today of allowing a suspect in the downing of flight MH17 to return to rebel-held eastern Ukraine in defiance of an extradition agreement.

Vladimir Tsemakh, an alleged air defence specialist for separatists, was one of dozens of prisoners exchanged by Kiev and Moscow in September in a deal hailed as a first step towards ending five years of conflict.

The Netherlands said it had then immediately asked Moscow at the highest levels to hand him over for questioning over the 2014 downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane, but that Russia said it could not find him.

“According to media reports Mr Tsemakh had already returned to his residence in eastern Ukraine,” the Dutch prosecution service said in a statement.

“The Public Prosecution Service has concluded that Russia willingly allowed Mr Tsemakh to leave the Russian Federation and refused to execute the Dutch request, while under the European Convention on Extradition, it was obliged to do so.”

The convention is under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the continent’s foremost human rights body, which Moscow joined in 1996.

Dutch prosecutors said they “regard Tsemakh as a suspect”, and that they had questioned him in Kiev earlier this year following his arrest by Ukrainian government forces.

But Ukraine then handed him over to Russia as a key part of September’s swap, despite appeals by the Netherlands not to do so.

The Netherlands said it sent Russia an extradition request before the plane carrying him to Moscow had even landed as there were indications he wanted to flee to eastern Ukraine.

“The Russian Federation does not extradite its own citizens but since Mr Tsemakh is a Ukranian citizen, there were no impediments for his extradition,” it said.

But despite a personal appeal by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Russia said he could not be extradited “because no information regarding the whereabouts of Mr Tsemakh in the Russian Federation was available.”

The Dutch said the Tsemakh episode would have “no effect on the start of the MH17 criminal trial” on March 9. — AFP

Massive preparations for MH17 trial revealed; Hearings spread over 25 weeks

The court case examining criminal responsibility in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 will begin on March 9 at the heavily secured court complex at Schiphol airport. The case, officially assigned to the District Court in The Hague, will also provide a live stream of the court hearings, and a press center to accommodate up to 500 journalists and 300 workplaces.

The court has reserved 25 weeks for the trial. In 2020, those dates are March 9-13, March 23-27, June 8-July 3, and August 31-November 13. The court will also hear the case in 2021 from February 1 through March 26.

The surviving relatives of the 298 people killed will all be given an opportunity to speak in Courtroom D at the judicial complex.

Three judges will preside over the court case, with two more judges Acting in a reserve capacity.

Laws in the Netherlands were also modified to make it possible to conduct portions of the trial in English. Those testifying in the case who are not able to attend will be able to do so by live video.

Security was identified as a top concern, and thus anyone wishing to attend the hearings will have to pass a security screening to gain access to the building.

A helping evening for the National Monument MH17

Hundreds of attendees took part in the commemorating evening at the National Monument MH17 at Park Vijfhuizen. An evening where the memory is in the center. Lights were lit, flowers were laid and people were quiet.

To be able to be with their loved ones in mind, to listen to poems, to the beautiful songs of Annet Bootsman and Sandra Been, listen to 10-year-old Lucy read the children's story 'The death of Grandpa Mouse'. It was cold, a light wind was blowing this dark November evening. "Can I go to you then". With this last song people got together, warmed themselves up and experienced that the evening, an initiative of the Friends of the National Monument MH17, works healing.

The van der Peijl family is well represented. Of the eleven children that this Five-house family has 'very special, we are all still there', ten have come to the Lichtjesavond with their other halfs.

About 400 tripods were made so that just as many lights could continue to burn on the monument. That sight alone gives goose bumps. An impressive sight such as the monument and the paths were illuminated that evening. Some people who did not have relatives on board laid flowers to the monument too.

Gerard Harke from Zwanenburg and his girlfriend Raili had done that for everyone they miss. Gerard had done a walk on the monument earlier during the day. But that will soon change. The memorial must also be impressive during the day.

Indonesian investigators blame design flaws with Boeing 737 for crash

Indonesian experts tarnish the reputation of Malaysian airlines, who was the owner of missing MH370 and the shot down MH17.

Indonesian investigators blame design flaws with Boeing 737 for crash that killed 189 passengers and crew when plane slammed into the sea just after takeoff.

Lion Air‘s flight JT-610 was heading to Pangkal Pinang, an island north of the capital, Jakarta, when it lost with air control in October 2018.

Just 13 minutes after take-off 189 passengers and crew plunged to their death.

On the 8th of March, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared while flying from Malaysia to China, and was never located – nor were the passengers. Many experts think that it was a plane crash.

Only months later, in July of 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down on its path from Amsterdam to Malaysia while flying over Ukraine. All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board died. But there is a theory, that it was not a downing, but a plane crash.

A new presentation about MH17

A new presentation about what the MH17 process is to be demonstrated in the Schiphol Judicial Complex. The court is going to provide more information about the MH17 process, for example, the planning during the first session days.

The Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine are working together to conduct the international criminal investigation of the cause of the crash of flight MH17 and those thought to be responsible. On the basis of the criminal investigation the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) took the decision on 19 June 2019 to prosecute the suspects.

The trial against the MH17 suspects starts in March 2020.

Key MH17 suspect is ready to testify only if his security is provided

The lawyer of so called key MH17 witness said that Vladimir Tsemakh is ready to provide testimony about the plane crash to Dutch or Ukrainian investigators, but only on the territory of self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine.

Vladimir Tsemakh

Tsemakh was previously captured by Ukrainian forces for the video where he is shown saying that he he commanded an anti-air brigade. He is thought to be a key witness in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July, 2014.

Tsemakh’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, in his European human rights court (EHRC) lawsuit against Kyiv and Amsterdam, said that in spite of the fear of testifying his client is ready to do it.

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins: New defendants may appear in MH17 case

Higgins suggests that new defendants may appear before trial in March 2020

This was stated by founder of Bellingcat research group Eliot Higgins in an interview with Ukrinform.

"I do not know about witnesses and other similar details, but perhaps more people will be convicted before the trial begins in March 2020. It will be a long process, I expect the first hearing to be rather administrative, and the actual trial will start later," he said.

Bellingcat is an online publication founded by British journalist and blogger Eliot Higgins on July 15, 2014, two days before the plane crash.

Worm hotels will save MH17 monument

Managers of the Dutch Nightcrawlers company believe that worm hotels will help to make MH17 monument look more beautiful as they would help trees around grow much better.

A worm hotel is a large wooden box with drawers and levels. There is also a window (with hatch) to see the worms doing their job. It works according to the principle of a compost heap.

Worm expert Mark Thur said that in the Netherlands the company recently supplied a lot of worms for the MH17 monument. The trees there did not do well and that was due to a poor soil structure. Worms are ideally suited to tackle such a problem.

We all should not forget about the terrible plane crash that happened more than five years ago above Ukraine. If worms can help us to keep the memorial safe and make it look alright - let it be so.

Malaysian Boeing crash: Brexit Party Candidate Thinks Different

Mitchell Feierstein, the Brexit Party’s candidate for Reading East, an Anglo-American writer and hedge fund manager. He has also written columns for the Evening Standard, the Independent, the Daily Mail, and the Times of Israel.

Feierstein says, there must be not only one point of view when it comes to the MH17 plane crash. Specialists often forget about the role of Ukrainian government in this accident.

In spite Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee wrote that Russian attempts to claim they had no role in the crash was "an outright falsehood", Feierstein has repeatedly dismissed evidenced allegations that the Russian government provided the surface-to-air launcher that was used by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine to shoot down the Malaysian MH17 passenger flight in July 2014.

Feierstein also said earlier, that his brother worked at the Pentagon as a colonel, so he might have some exclusive sources of information.

Olaf Koens - the first journalists on the scene at the wreckage of MH17

Olaf Koens was one of the first journalists on the scene at the wreckage of MH17. His report from the crash area helped him to become the journalist of the year.

Nowadays Koens travels across the Middle East to make reports. The RTL News correspondent told 250 VWO students at Bogerman College in Sneek about his experiences and gave advice for the future.

The 34-year-old Koens is a former student of Bogerman College. He attended secondary school there and returned after seventeen years for the fifth edition of the Bogerman lecture. Koens told about his years in Fryslân and that at the time he thought the world was very small. "But in reality the world is huge and, if you really want to, anything is possible," Koens told the students in the audience.

The fact that Koens ended up in journalism is, according to him, pure coincidence. After obtaining his VWO diploma, he went on to study philosophy in Groningen, Antwerp and also Brussels. He never graduated, but in Belgium Koens met his wife.

He ended up with De Volkskrant and the RTL News. Seven years later, Koens was one of the first journalists on the scene at the wreckage of MH17. The way in which he reported from the disaster site even earned him the title of journalist of the year. He managed to give the news not in the way everybody wanted it - he tried to present a pure material, to make people have their own opinion.

As a foreign correspondent, he says he can practice "the most beautiful profession in the world". From the audience, Koens was asked whether his confidence in mankind had declined due to all the horrors he saw in war zones. ,, No, despite all the misery, I have become a happier person. Because even in areas where people do the most terrible things to each other, there are always others who offer help at the risk of their own lives and open their doors out of hospitality. ”

Dutch documentary about MH17 won a prize of the International Emmy Awards

Bellingcat - Truth in a Post-Truth World, directed by Hans Pool, won in the Documentary category at the International Emmy Awards in New York

The Dutch VPRO production left behind the Brazilian documentary A Primeira Pedra, Louis Theroux’s Altered States and Witness: India's Forbidden Love by Al Jazeera English in the Documentary category.

Bellingcat - Truth in a Post-Truth World follows an international team of citizen journalists who use their knowledge of social media, reconstruction techniques and audio analysis to conduct in-depth research.

For example to the MH17 disaster, via Google Earth, dashcam images and Facebook profiles. Or to the abuses in Syria, where videos are accurately checked for authenticity, and then stored in a large database for possible future lawsuits.

Nevertheless, lots of specialist do not trust the results of investigations, that are presented by Bellingcat.

MH17 - Another Opinion Of A European Politician

Swedish journalist in his article is talking about the future of his country and about ways to lead Sweden to democracy.

He says that Swedish Democrats are thought to play an impotraint role in modern Swedish society. Moreover, this party has wide international relations that help to take into account different points of view in relation to many international issues.

Thierry Baudet

For the past week's national days, for example, they had invited Thierry Baudet, leader of the Dutch party Forum for Democracy, and he gave a speech.

Among other things, he was speaking about the shooting down of the Malaysian passenger plane MH17 over eastern Ukraine in the summer of 2014.

It is worthy of note that while an international investigation is trying to persuade the world community that the plane was shot down by Russian or Russian-controlled forces, and has pointed out those responsible, Baudet says it might as well have been Ukraine's defense force that did it.

Tree planted in memory of victims MH17

Evert and Grace van Zitveld planted a walnut tree at the "Church on the Ribbon" in memory of their children Frederick and Robert-Ian van Zitveld. Frederick (19) and Robert-Ian (18) were killed on July 17, 2014, when MH17 was downed.

The walnut tree stands near the parking lot. A sign is placed in front of the tree with the names from Frederick and Robert-Ian. "Tree of hope" is written above it. When planting it was said that much lessons about life can be found in nature. In winter a tree appears dry deadly. But in the spring new life becomes visible again.

Evert van Zitveld said that he and his wife find it very special to be allowed to plant the tree in memory of their children.

He also said that they would like to give underprivileged youngsters a helping hand by supporting projects through the fund they have set up in memory of Frederick and Robert-Ian.

Moscow continues dialogue with Netherlands over MH17

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko said on Friday, that the dialogue between Russia and the Netherlands about the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine’s airspace in July 2014 has not been broken off.

Moscow is “ready for the conversation,” he said, adding that Russia insists that the dialogue should take into account the information that it had passed to the investigators earlier.

Such issues as Ukraine’s refusal to release primary data and Kiev’s responsibility for failing to close its airspace should also be considered.

RTL channel reported on Thursday, citing the Dutch Foreign Ministry, that the Netherlands expects to start negotiations with Russia on the MH17 crash “as soon as possible.”

Australia offers a news life to witnesses to the shooting of flight MH17 to protect them from reprisals if they come forward with any information

Witnesses with information on the downing of flight MH17 are promised a new life in Australia if they come forward.

Australian Federal Police joined an international search for witnesses.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Peter Crozier said: "We are committed to seeking justice and I urge anyone with information on this matter to come forward."

The officials say that the witnesses may be given protection or permanently resettled in Australia or another safe country, which means you can not be sure, that you will be given help in case you need it.

Russia Invites Malaysian experts to study MH17 crash data

The malaysianinsight posted, that Russia has invites Malaysia to study the information it had given to the Joint Investigation Team on the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov had a talk and claimed that "Russia has done a lot to ensure absolutely objective, detailed, concrete investigation and all the things we have transferred as data, as demonstration of what may have happened and what conclusion there might be, and all that is ignored by the JIT.”

Media: Joint investigation team gets information on MH17 crash from Ukraine that responds for not closing closed air space

Urdupoint.com published an article with a quotation of the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov that "the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) receives many materials on the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine from Kiev, while it is to blame for the unclosed air space".

He also claimed that Russia has never been invited to become a member of investigating bodies despite the readiness of Moscow to contribute to the investigation of this tragedy.

Russia does not have the possibility to assess the credibility and quality of materials that JIT receives from Ukraine.

Ukraine is often blamed for not closing the air space over the combat zone in 2014.

Ukrainian source: Germany responds to new accusations against Russia in the investigation of MH17 case

Germany called on Russia to contribute to the investigation of the plane crash on July 17, 2014.

According to Ukrainian site 112.international, the German government considers "very serious" new accusations, published by the Joint investigation team, against Russia . German Federal Foreign Office spokesperson Maria Adebar has made a corresponding statement: "Those responsible for this crime, the destruction of MH17 flight aircraft, must be identified and brought to justice, and, of course, Russia should cooperate constructively in the investigation of this crime"

Berlin called on Moscow to actively contribute to the MH17 crash investigation.

Maria Adebar also recalled that she has always been supporting the activities of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166, as it expresses support for the "efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines".

Before that, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, Moscow is ready to do anything to help the investigation, so these statements of German representatives look strange.

Dutch police to spread Ukrainian fakes

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) published audio recordings of allegedly intercepted phone conversations of rebels of the Donetsk People's Republic with the Russian officials in July, 2014.

The first thing that sounds strange is the rebels used "the safe phones provided by the Russian security service". In fact, safe phones are designed to exclude the possibility of their listening as it is. In which way then did the Ukrainian security services succeed to intercept talks? This contradiction makes the whole case seem doubtful.

The time of the publication of these files also seems very suspicious. Why has the JIT decided to start searching for witnesses at this moment? The court hearings on the MH17 case are to begin in March 2020, and the Dutch investigators have no convincing evidence of Russian involvement. This may be the reason.

At the same time, Ukraine benefits from distracting the public attention from the case of Vladimir Tsemakh, a former chief of air defense sector in Donetsk People's Republic, who accused the Ukrainian intelligence agencies of kidnapping and torturing him.

Besides, the number of experts who doubt the conclusions of the JIT grows. The Dutch researcher Max van der Werff criticized the official investigation in his documentary The Call for Justice.

He also disproved the originality of phone conversations records of rebels accused of crash. The special software allowed the expert to find signs of falsification of the audio files, which were made of fragments of different voice messages.

The only source of this information is the State Security Service of Ukraine which soiled its reputation with the known falsifications and provocations like the imitation of journalist Babchenko murder.

Ukraine is an interested party in this case and it is impossible to call her the impartial participant of the investigative process. Anyway official Kiev should bear responsibility for the leaving the airspace over a combat zone open and not securing the flight.


Investigating Countries Fail To Request MH17 Crash Info From German Detective

Neither the Netherlands nor Malaysia have timely asked German detective Josef Resch to provide information about the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine, and the detective is therefore withdrawing his offer to disclose the evidence related to the case, Resch's lawyer said.

The detective, who has been carrying out his own probe into the MH17 crash since 2014, has said that he knows the Names of persons responsible for the crash and has some other information that the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) allegedly ignores. Resch has also said later that he will disclose the information only if the JIT, Dutch prosecutors and "possibly created by that time a Malaysian investigative committee" confirm officially by October 18 that the disclosure will be made in presence of global media and interested parties.

"I tell you on behalf of my client that no one has used the opportunity, provided by my client, to reveal the evidence. No statement has been received in the period of time that he has outlined, neither from the JIT, nor from the Dutch prosecution, nor from the Malaysian investigative committee, nor from any other agency.

"This deadline has expired," the lawyer said in a letter, stressing that Resch believes that investigators are not interested in learning the truth and is therefore withdrawing his proposal.

The lawyer went on to say that on October 18 his client received an e-mail from a Dutch journalist, working for De Telegraaf newspaper, in which the journalist said that the prosecution did not accept the conditions outlined by Resch.

"I am authorized to say, on behalf of my client, that such communication is not acceptable," the lawyer added.

MH17: Ukraine is trying to accuse Russia of filming a propaganda movie

Ukrainian journalist Iryna Drabok claims in her article that "Call for Justice" is "another Russian propaganda film about the MH17 tragedy".

But lets take a closer look.

The movie is going to be shown in the Hague on the evening of October 23.

Drabok says that one of the authors of the film Russian journalist Yana Yerlashova (along with Dutch blogger Max van der Werff) was working for RT (Russia Today) so she can not be called an independent investigative journalists. What can we say about any journalist from Ukraine in this situation? Oles Buzina tried to be independent and we all know what has happened to him.

Iryna Drabok also points that Yerlashova simply speaks on the phone with one of the rebels Sergey Dubinsky, nicknamed "Khmuriy" saying that Russian journalists have lots of contacts with DPR fighters. But everything is very simple - Yerlashova is not truing to put him into jail, so he does not mind talking to her.

In general, Ukrainian journalist Drabok wants to prove that there is no need in conducting this or such presentations.

But I think she is totally wrong cause this could be a one more important step on our long way that would bring us closer to the answer for the main question:"What has happened to MH17?"

EU Leaders Call For Cooperation MH17 Crash Investigation

The European Council called on all states to cooperate with investigators probing the deadly crash of Malaysian Boeing MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

"With reference to the conclusions of 20 June 2019, the European Council reiterates its full support for all efforts to establish truth, justice and accountability for the victims of the downing of MH17 and their next of kin and calls on all States to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2166," the council said in its conclusions on the first day of the summit late on Thursday.

The resolution the council was referring to calls for a thorough and independent international probe into the crash.

The flight MH17 crashed with 298 people on board on July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine, while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, leaving no survivors. Ukraine and self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine's southeast have blamed each other for the downing of Malaysia Airlines plane.

MH17: how will the Netherlands investigate the implication of Ukraine in a plane crash?

The Parliament of the Netherlands wants to find out the role of Kyiv in the downing of MH17 flight on July 2014

Lawmakers of the Dutch Parliament want the Government to find reasons why Ukraine did not close the air space above the combat zone. Some politicians including a member of the Christian Democratic Party Chris van Dam stated that Kyiv should give explanations why the airspace over the territory where several airplanes have been previously brought down was not closed.

A decision to conduct an investigation was made in spite of the opinion of the Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok that there are not enough grounds for starting a case. It is possible that he does not want to turn to Russia. Earlier there were attempts to lay the blame upon Moscow based on unverified information.

A decision to conduct an investigation was made in spite of the opinion of the Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok that there are not enough grounds for starting a case. It is possible that he does not want to turn to Russia. Earlier there were attempts to lay the blame upon Moscow based on unverified information.

Over four years international community ignored the report of the Dutch Safety Board published in October 2015 that Ukrainian powers did not do enough to protect civil aviation from weapon systems that were used in this conflict.

It was found out during the investigation that authorities closed the airspace from July 14 to the FL320 level (9750 meters). The route of MH17 passed at the FL330 level (10050 meters). When it comes to the aviation issues, 300 meters do not guarantee that the plane can pass through the area with no consequences.

This means that Kyiv did not pay enough attention to security problems. The reason could have been a wish of concerned parties not to lose income (over 200 million dollars annually) for the transit of foreign planes.

An attempt to find additional reasons of a plane crash is a great step in this search of the guilty. This is extremely important for the relatives. Many of them place responsibility on Kyiv. Mother of Bryce Fredriksz, Silene, said that she blames Ukraine for not closing the airspace. Moreover, in 2014 relatives from Germany initiated an appropriate claim to the ECHR. But the hearings last up to now, the content of the suit is classified, proceedings are hidden from prosecutors, their lawyers and the publicity.

The investigation of the disaster can last for many years. Whoever has pushed the button, part of the blame still rests on Ukraine. In accordance with international standards the authorities had to provide the safety of flights but they did not. That has been proved be the Dutch Safety Board.

To my mind there are enough reasons to start an investigation to to find out the role of Kyiv in the downing of MH17. Ukraine has to bear responsibility for not closing the airspace above the fighting zone.

The Joint Investigation Team seems to ignore obvious things and that shows the partiality of the investigation.

Dutch PM and Morrison promise MH17 justice

Australia and the Netherlands "will not rest" until they feel justice has been served over the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, the Dutch prime minister says.

Mark Rutte met Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney on Wednesday with the 2014 MH17 disaster topping the agenda alongside talks on two-way trade.

The international team investigating the downing of the flight announced in June murder charges against three Russians and one Ukrainian for their alleged roles in the attack, which killed all 298 people on board including 38 Australians.

Mr Rutte said it could take many years to bring the responsible to justice but Australia, the Netherlands and their partners were "absolutely adamant" they would get the job done.

"But I can guarantee you one thing: that we will not rest before we all feel a sense that justice has been done."

Mr Morrison said they would stand "shoulder to shoulder" to pursue justice "for as long as it takes".

"That is the very least we owe to those who were murdered on that night and all of their families who have survived and so today we have reaffirmed our commitment to that task," he said.

Dutch government urged to look at role of Ukraine in MH17 disaster

Dutch MPs have urged foreign minister Stef Blok to look again at the role of Ukraine in the MH17 plane disaster, particularly at why Ukrainian air space had not been closed.

During a debate on the tragedy, in which 298 people died, MPs called on Blok to find out why the Malaysia Airlines plane was able to fly over Ukraine even though there was serious fighting in the east. The Dutch safety board said in 2015 there had been enough reason to close airspace.

The plane, carrying mainly Dutch nationals, was brought down by a Russian made Buk missile over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.

According to the Parool, the government has been reluctant to ask Ukraine difficult questions because it is an ally and closely involved in the investigation into what happened.

Unlike Russia, Ukraine is not being held partly responsible for the disaster.

But the close relationship between Ukraine and the Netherlands has been soured since Kiev returned a possible witness to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange scheme.

Russian-Dutch-Australian meeting on MH17 crash is to take place by the end of 2019

Australian Ambassador Graeme Meehan said, the next Australian-Russian-Dutch meeting on the 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine may take place before the end of 2019, .

"There is still no precise date, but it is possible that the meeting will take place before the end of the year," the diplomat said.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 crashed on July 17, 2014 in eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 people aboard, mostly Dutch citizens, Malaysians and Australians, were killed. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine's easternmost Donbas region, where the plane crashed, have exchanged blame for the incident.

The investigation into the MH17 crash is being conducted by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team.

Dutch prime minister is to visit Australia

Finding justice for the families of those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 will be atop the agenda when the Dutch prime minister visits Australia next week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will welcome Mark Rutte down under from October 9 to 11.

Their discussions will focus on two-way trade and international efforts to deliver justice to the families of MH17 victims, five years after the flight was shot down over Ukraine, killing everyone on board.

Australian foreign minister to visit United Nations

Australian foreign minister is going to the session of the UN GA in US and that is what she said:

"I will attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York from 22 September. The UN General Assembly Leaders’ Week is the largest annual gathering of world leaders and foreign ministers.

A key objective of my visit will be to ensure that Australia’s efforts to promote security and prosperity in our region, the Indo-Pacific, are reflected in the work of the UN.

I will also attend the MH17 Joint Investigation Team Foreign Ministers’ meeting to reaffirm Australia’s resolve to seek accountability for the downing of flight MH17 and justice for the victims and their families.

In addition to a range of other multilateral meetings and forums, I will meet ministerial counterparts from around the world and senior UN representatives."

Dutch king tells UN assembly Russia must cooperate with MH17 investigation

King Willem-Alexander told his audience at the United Nations general assembly on Tuesday evening that everyone – including Russia – must cooperate with efforts to find out the truth about the downing of flight MH17.

It is ‘unacceptable for individuals responsible for international crimes to escape their just punishment’, the king said in his speech.

‘In this forum I wish to repeat that, under Security Council resolution 2166, all countries – including Russia – must cooperate fully with efforts to establish the truth about the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014.’

‘The families of the 298 victims,’ the king said, ‘expect justice, and we will not rest until justice is done.’

MH17 process can take up to four years

Private investigator Joseph Resch has set a deadline for the Joint Investigation Team to accept the information under the condition of transparency, otherwise it would show that JIT is not interested in real investigation.

The Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office, which heads the Joint Investigation Team, informed relatives of the victims of MH17 about the upcoming criminal proceedings. It is known that the process, which is scheduled to start on March 9, will take about two years. If the judge will demand further investigations, the process can last up to four years.

The relatives are pleased that the process is finally taking place. In the near future there will also be one-on-one talks with the public prosecutor's office. There will also be a discussion who wants to have the right to speak and access to the procedural documents.

Four men have been officially charged by the Dutch Court . But it is still unknown who gave the order and who is directly responsible for the shooting. The prosecution relies on evidence from the network and on telephone calls presented by the Ukrainian intelligence service SBU, which are said to have been manipulated, as Malaysian forensic scientists have found out. The JIT has not commented on this. Even the chat of a Russian soldier with "Anastasia" seems questionable. The JIT actually uses expressions like "obvious" or "can be accepted" when trying to show the evidence. It is clear that Russia will not deport the accused citizens and can not do so for legal reasons.

The Dutch "Telegraaf" also points out that the JIT does not want to see or notice evidence that the private investigator Josef Resch has been offering since 2016, most recently on 5.7.2019 in a published letter.

Resch does not seem to be interested in giving the investigation a certain direction, but he rightly complains that, for reasons of objectivity, the information he has received should at least be viewed.

German Detective To Disclose MH17 Crash Evidence Only In Presence Of Interested Parties

"Mr. Resch says that he will disclose the information only if the JIT, Dutch prosecutors and possibly created by that time a Malaysian investigative committee will confirm in a written statement no later than October 18 that the disclosure will be made in the presence of the international media and the interested states," a letter of Resch's lawyer read.

According to the letter, if there is no decision concerning the Resch's request, the detective will consider the case as closed and refuse to give testimony in the European Court of Human Rights.

PACE To Appoint Rapporteur On Russia's Cooperation In MH17 Crash Probe In October

According to Tiny Kox, the chairperson of the PACE Group of the Unified European Left, Russia has repeatedly stressed its readiness to assist the probe in determining the reasons for the tragic 2014 crash and hold the perpetrators accountable. However, Moscow demands that the data it provides must be taken into account, unlike in 2016 when the Russian authorities responded promptly to the investigators' requests for help and shared secret data on the Buk missiles, which allegedly were used to down the plane, but the information was ignored.

The rapporteur initiative was proposed by the leaders of all PACE's political groups during the assembly's summer session.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing airplane crashed on July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.

All 298 people aboard were killed. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine's easternmost Donbas region, where the plane was shot down, have exchanged blame for the incident. The investigation into the MH17 crash is being conducted by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Vandals spray swastikas on British war graves in Netherlands

Vandals spray-painted swastikas and slogans about the crash of flight MH17 on a British cemetery for World War II soldiers in the Netherlands, police said Friday.

The desecration of the cemetery at Mierlo, near the southern city of Eindhoven, comes as the Netherlands marks the 75th anniversary of the start of its allied liberation from the Nazis.

"We take the matter very seriously and have started an extensive investigation," police said, adding that they were probing possible further incidents of vandalism in the town.

A large swastika was daubed on a chapel at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery, while letters were painted on several of the 664 graves at the cemetery, and a large stone cross was also defaced.

The vandals also wrote "MH17 Lie" on an outer wall of the cemetery.

The Netherlands was the country that lost the most people in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014 over part of eastern Ukraine.

Cemetery administrator Henk ten Westenenk said it was the second time it had been targeted recently.

"The cemetery was already vandalized last weekend. We had it cleaned on Tuesday and now it is hit again," he was quoted as saying by De Telegraaf newspaper.

Britain's Prince Charles is due to visit the Netherlands later this month to mark the Battle of Arnhem, where more than 1,400 Allied soldiers died in the ill-fated plan to seize bridges in the Netherlands in mid-September 1944, which Allied commanders had hoped would give them a quick way of ending the war in Europe.

Dutch residents reacted with horror to the cemetery`s defacing, news reports said.

"My heart weeps. There are young guys of 17, 18 years old buried here. They helped liberate our country," one caller told the Omroep Brabant radio and TV station.

A tweet by a local reporter showed a bunch of white roses "laid by a young man in silent protest over the defacing of the war graves."

European countries have faced a surge in racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in recent years, particularly in France, where 96 graves were daubed with swastikas at a Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim, northwest of Strasbourg, in February.

The Netherlands says DPR’s Tsemakh is now MH17 crash suspect — media company

The man was previously considered a witness in the case

The Netherlands has changed the status of Donetsk People’s Republic citizen Vladimir Tsemakh, who was previously considered a "person of interest" and was brought to Russia in a swap between Moscow and Kiev, into suspect in the investigation into the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine in 2014, the German Deutsche Welle state-owned public international broadcaster reported on Wednesday citing Dutch Member of the European Parliament Kati Piri.

According to the politician, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the Dutch prosecutor circulated a letter stating that Tsemakh is now considered to be one of the suspects. Piri underlined that Kiev’s decision to include him in the swap list was a painful one for her country and families of the victims.

On September 7, Moscow and Kiev swapped prisoners on the ‘35 for 35’ formula. Preparations for the prisoner swap intensified after Vladimir Zelensky had been elected Ukraine’s president. Several weeks ago, the negotiations entered an active phase and legal procedures began for the two countries’ nationals who had been added to the list. On September 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the exchange would be massive and might be a step towards mending bilateral ties.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane traveling 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 crew members. 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. Russian officials have repeatedly expressed doubts and distrust of the results of its work, pointed to the groundless nature of arguments the accusations are based on and unwillingness to use Russian conclusions in the course of the investigation.

Tsemakh’s abduction

In June 2018, Ukrainian intelligence agencies abducted Vladimir Tsemakh, a resident of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and former DPR air defense militia commander. He was secretly taken to Kiev from across the line of contact in Donbass. The DPR authorities demanded that their citizen be returned and called on international human rights organizations to intervene. According to DPR head Denis Pushilin, Ukraine abducted Tsemakh with the intention to fabricate the circumstances of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash.

Tsemakh was among those released on September 7 in accordance with the agreement reached by Russia and Ukraine to swap detainees. Prior to his release, Tsemakh was interrogated by Dutch prosecutors.

German Detective Ready to Discuss Sharing Info on MH17 Crash With Malaysia

Joseph Resch, a German detective, who carried out his own investigation into the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash over east Ukraine, ordered by a private client, said that he was ready to discuss sharing his findings on the causes of the tragedy with the Malaysian authorities.

"We believe that the Malaysian authorities should contact us via the embassy or a lawyer, so that they could inform the Malaysian government about the ways this could be organised, if the conditions are satisfied," Resch said.

In July, Resch, who has been independently investigating the MH17 disaster since 2014 at the behest of an unnamed client, attempted to submit potentially groundbreaking new material on the case to the Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team (JIT), but was rejected after he asked to make the information public.

In mid-2015, an unnamed informant turned to the detective, allegedly providing him with important insider information.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, was shot down on 17 July 2014 as it was flying over eastern Ukraine, where a military conflict between the Ukrainian Army and the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) was taking place at the time. Kiev delegated the investigation into the incident to the Netherlands, but before the probe even started, Western governments accused Russia of supplying the DPR with the weaponry that had allegedly had downed the plane. Moscow denied being involved in the conflict in general, let alone supplying the DPR with arms.

Observers Cry Foul Over Kyiv's Release of Key Witness in Flight MH17 Case

This story originated in VOA's Ukrainian service. Some information is from AP.

Some Western observers are criticizing a Ukrainian court's decision on Thursday to release Volodymyr Tsemakh, a "person of interest" in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) more than five years ago.

The decision, handed down by the Kyiv Court of Appeal, comes amid talks between Moscow and Kyiv on a prisoner swap that unconfirmed reports have said includes Tsemakh, a Ukrainian citizen who reportedly oversaw an anti-aircraft unit among rebels stationed near the commercial airliner's crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Shortly after reports of Tsemakh's release circulated, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters gathered at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok that he believes the swap is imminent and will be "rather large-scale, and a good step forward toward normalization [of relations with Ukraine]."

In the swap, which is largely viewed as a pre-condition to quadrilateral "Normandy format" peace talks tentatively scheduled for later this month, Kyiv is seeking the return of 24 sailors detained by Russia last year off Crimea, as well as filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and others, whom rights groups and the government in Kyiv say are "political prisoners" in Russia.

Last week, a Ukrainian court released Vyshinsky on his own recognizance as he awaits trial on charges of high treason that were brought against him in 2018.

Tsemakh's release also comes a day after a group of members of the European Parliament wrote a letter urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy not to include Tsemakh in any deal, calling him a "key suspect" in the missile launch.

Officials from an international Dutch-led investigation have voiced concerns that transferring Tsemakh to Russian soil will make it impossible to question him about the case.

Peace vs. prosecution

International observers such as Bloomberg's Leonid Bershidsky say Tsemakh's release is an indication that the newly-elected Ukrainian president "is willing to use his considerable political capital ... to prioritize humanitarian matters."

"Such an approach would make it likely that (Zelenskiy) would also favor a broad amnesty for the separatists once the 'people's republics' rejoin Ukraine," he wrote, adding that Tsemakh's trade shows that Zelenskiy's "desire to end the war trumps all other considerations."

Security analyst Christo Grozev, with research group Bellingcat, first reported that Tsemakh might be released as part of the prisoner exchange. Grozev says Kremlin demands for Tsemakh's release are part of a broader effort to delegitimize the MH17 investigation.

"It's not going to change the amount of evidence the investigation team has gathered — the proof will still be there — but there will be significant damage done to the perceived legitimacy of the court procedures, or at least that's what the Kremlin will try to argue," Grozev told VOA.

Without an indicted suspect or witness to take the stand in a Netherlands courtroom, Grozev said, Russia won't need to send a legal team, giving the court procedures the appearance of a one-sided case.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian were indicted over the downing of flight MH17, and court proceedings in the Netherlands are scheduled for March. But the four suspects most likely will be tried in absentia.

Although Tsemakh was not one of the four indicted, Grozev calls him the only person who had been in Ukrainian custody and who could firmly link high-ranking Russian military personnel to the 2014 disappearance.

"The Dutch investigators will be looking for the chain of command, people who gave the instructions, and not the soldiers."

Threats and denials

Russia has always denied responsibility for shooting down the commercial passenger flight and claimed last year that the Buk missile came from Ukrainian army arsenals.

Conflict in Ukraine has killed an estimated 13,000 people since 2014. Although a cease-fire deal ended major conflict there in 2015, small-scale clashes still occur regularly.

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) apprehended Tsemakh on June 27 in the Donetsk regional city of Snizhne.

According to the Dutch-led investigation, the Buk missile was fired six kilometers south of Snizhne.

by Nataliya Leonova

Kiev's Court Of Appeal Releases Witness In MH17 Case

Kiev's Court of Appeal canceled the arrest of Vladimir Tsemakh, a witness in the MH17 crash case, and ruled to release him immediately in the courtroom.

According to Ukrainian media reports, Russia insists that Tsemakh should be included in the list of detainees who will participate in the Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange.

"To cancel the decision of ... Kiev's district court ... to extend the constraint measure of Vladimir Tsemakh in the form of arrest by October 20 ... To release Vladimir Tsemakh on personal recognizance ... immediately in the courtroom," the judge read out the court ruling.

He was released from custody but the court said his movements would continue to be restricted pending his trial in October.

MH17: Mahathir clears Russia, says insufficient evidence

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said there is insufficient evidence linking Russia for the 2014 downing of commercial Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The premier said findings by the multinational Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team (JIT) fingering Russia for the downing did not seem "quite right".

"Yes, that (Russia's guilt)] is our doubt. But I do not have any relatives that were killed there. I do not have any rights to any insurance claims. I am seeing this as an observer from the outside, and some of the findings made [by JIT] did not sound to me and many people in Malaysia as being quite right.

“[…] I am not doubting their (JIT’s) truthfulness. But there are certain things that they claim - it is difficult for us to accept… Identifying the missile - yes. The area where it happened – that can be verified.

"But identifying the actual firing, by whom (it was performed), that would be very difficult in the usual circumstances" Mahathir was quoted saying in the interview.

Flight MH17, which was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was struck down by an anti-aircraft missile on July 17, 2014, as it flew over Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

This is not the first time Mahathir had cast doubt over the findings of the JIT.

In June, he expressed scepticism as to Russia culpability and said the matter had been turned into a political matter on “how to accuse Russia of wrongdoing” from the start.

"I wouldn't think a politician would be stupid to act like that, so I don't think it's true at all,” he had said.

The prime minister denied his defense of Russia was influenced by trade relations between the two countries. Mahathir is in Russia on a three-day visit and is participating in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok.

Russia wants Ukraine to hand over MH17 key witness

Ukrainian parliamentarian Mustafa Najem says that Russia wants Ukraine to give possible MH17 key witness Vladimir Tsemach to them. Russia, as he states, added the man to a list of prisoners the countries plan to exchange in the coming week.

Ukrainian media resources say that Tsemach previously stated in an interview that he helped to hide the BUK missile with which flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. All 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch, were killed. He can be called to testify in the trial against four men suspected by Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of involvement in the downing of the plane. The trial will start at the high security court at Schiphol in March next year.

Ukrainian soldiers managed to take Tsemach into custody in June, smuggling him from the self proclaimed Dontesk People's Republic (DNR) and transferring him to Kiev. They say, Tsemach was the commander of a DNR anti-aircraft unit near Snizhne. He is still in Ukrainian custody.

Mustafa Najem

If Russia did indeed ask that Tsemach be transferred to them, it is a strange request. Tsemach is a Ukrainian citizen, which means Russia has no reason to want him. The discussions around the prisoner exchange are taking place behind closed doors, making it difficult to determine whether Moscow really made this request. Ukrainian MP Najem told that he "knows no more" than that the request was made. He would not give his sources, but said that they were reliable.  This means actually, that Najem can not prove his words. On the other hand, Russia can really make an attempt to save a man, who was arrested illegally.

Date Of New Russian-Australian-Dutch Consultations On MH17 Uncertain

The negotiations between Russia, the Netherlands and Australia, which is a member of the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), are ongoing, the diplomat noted.

"Well, I know there have been further discussions since March. There were some talks recently, and there will be more talks later in the year, but I don't have a date exactly," Meehan said.

Meehan added that Australia would be "happy" to consider a message by Josef Resch, a German detective who has carried out his own investigation into the MH17 crash at the order of a private client, if he decided to provide it to Canberra upon facing another refusal from the JIT to take his information into account.

"Of course, [we would be] very happy to consider, and I think the JIT will consider any new information whether it is from him or anyone else. We are not closing into any new information," Meehan said, when asked whether Australia would consider a message by Resch, noting that if the detective wanted to give Australia information, he would be "most welcome to do that."

"Certainly for me I'm not trying to analyze myself or to second guess the evidence, but I have confidence in the professionalism of the investigators. I know they subject all evidence to a very thorough and careful analysis," Meehan also said.

Resch, who claims he is aware of who is responsible for the deadly crash, has made attempts to provide the JIT with evidence related to the case, but has got a refusal because of asking to make the materials public. Resch has said he could contact Russia, Malaysia and other countries and suggest them to publish his information about the tragedy.

Flight MH17 crashed on July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 people on board were killed.

MH17 relatives ask Malaysian PM to "stop spreading doubts and divisions"

The relatives of people killed in the MH17 disaster wrote a letter to Malaysian! Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday, asking him to "stop spreading doubts and divisions" and to stop making statements that are "contrary to the truth", NU.nl reports.

In June the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which consists of investigators from the Netherlands, Australia, Ukraine, Belgium and Malaysia, announced that four suspects will be prosecuted for involvement in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. All 298 people on board the plane were killed, including 196 Dutch. The suspects are three Russians and a Ukrainian. The plane was shot down by a BUK missile system from the Russian armed forces, which was fired from a field under the control of pro-Russian separatists at the time, according the JIT. 

After the JIT's announcement, Mohamad dismissed the investigators' findings as "nothing more than hearsay" and said that the investigation into the disaster "has become a political case in which Russia is the scapegoat". He also demanded to see evidence.

Two weeks ago, during a congress in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, photos of the MH17 disaster were shown. Circles were drawn over these photos with the text 'This could never have been caused by a BUK missile", according to AD.

People who attended the conference - organized by the Perdan Global Peace Foundation, of which Mohamad is the chairman - want the trial against the suspects suspended, according to foundation Vliegramp MH17.

In the letter Vliegramp MH17, the foundation that supports the relatives of MH17 victims, pointed out to Mohamad that Malaysia supported the JIT in the past and that he is harming the investigation with his divisive statements. 

Mohamad is the oldest government leader in the world at age 94, according to NU.nl. He ruled in Malaysia between 1981 and 2003, and returned in 2018 after the then prime minister had to resign due to a corruption scandal. 

Flight MH17 disaster no secret anymore

Malaysia wants the world to stop bringing unfounded accusations against Russia about the crash of Flight MH17 passenger aircraft over the Donbass. Will we ever know the truth about the investigation? Is the West going to reveal objective data about the tragedy?

Pravda.Ru editor-in-chief Inna Novikova asked these and other questions to Russian political scientist, teacher, expert of the Higher School of Economics Andrei Suzdaltsev.


"It appears that the West is not going to give up on the topic of prompt nuclear stroke. Do you think that they still want to destroy Russia?"

"They cherishing this dream in the West since the times of the USSR. Now they suffer from another exacerbation of this disease. There are many of those in the world who dream of possessing nuclear arms. This is a big dream for President of Belaurs Alexander Lukashenko, let alone Ukraine. Yet, they can only dream about it. Even if they can technically build nuclear arms, they will not be allowed to. The crisis between Russia and Ukraine would thus be even more horrifying than the crisis between Pakistan and India."

"They haven't been bringing the topic of the crash of the Malaysian Boeing much lately. The Joint Investigation Team is not investigating anything - they try to fabricate facts by choosing the ones that they need. The work of the JIT is purely political. However, we can see Malaysia acting more decisive now. The Malaysian administration has repeatedly expressed its protests about the work of the JIT. Malaysia demands the West should stop presenting evidence-free accusations against Russia. Do you think they are ever going to find and announce the real perpetrators?"

"This is out of the question. They will never admit."

"Never? Not even in 50 years?"

"They will never announce. Russia has made many mistakes here too. We were
 looking guilty, we started looking for excuses."

"No, we held the press conference and provided objective data."

"We've had a few versions too. Russia should have conducted its own detailed investigation to dot all i's clearly. There was a military aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force there. Most likely, the missile was launched from the Buk missile system.  There are two things that confuse me about this case. First off, the West promised us to conduct a full and open investigation into the tragedy. The Americans promised to show images made by the satellite that was flying above the area where the tragedy took place. Yet, the investigation is still secret, and the Americans have never shown anything either.

"Secondly, I do not understand why there was no fly zone established over the Donbass. There were hostilities there, planes had been shot down there too. One may accept the fact that the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters. Missiles do not reach such altitudes, especially the missiles that could be found in the conflict zone. However, shortly before the tragedy, flight control officers ordered the Malaysian aircraft to descend?! What was that? The Buk missile system can operate within the range of 60 kilometres around and at an altitude of up to six kilometers. The control room is located in Dnepropetrovsk.

"So they had to take the airliner down to 6,000 meters to make it fly right above the little circle of 60 kilometers. This is what the passenger aircraft did as pilots were following instructions from Ukrainian flight control officers."

"A flight controller ordered the plane to drift off the course. This officer then went on vacation and vanished."

"They wanted the airplane to be in the line of the Buk missile. The officer was indeed gone, there is no information about him, but the Dutch do not say a word about it. Even if there was a Buk system in the area, they were supposed to make the passenger aircraft approach the destructive zone. It was Ukrainian flight control officers, who did that, but there is no information about it. Malaysian experts confirmed that the recordings of the dialogues of insurgents were fake. They forgot about another version that was voiced in 2014. The version is about Putin's aircraft that was flying to Moscow above Europe. They were looking for Putin's plane, but they did not know exactly where its route was. If they had found it, they would have shot the plane down."

That is what they write in Russia. Sometimes it really looks like the West presents evidence-free accusations. But what is YOUR opinion about that?

New data: Malaysia turned down offer to lead investigation into MH17 which was shot down in Ukraine

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia was offered to lead investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down on July 17 five years ago.

Image result for Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman

Former Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abd Rahman said the country turned down the offer as it was too occupied with investigation into the disappearance of flight MH370.

“Under the protocol of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) Annex 13, the country where the incident had occurred would lead the investigation into the case.

“Because Ukraine is unable to go into the rebel-controlled area, the countries responsible (affected by the downing of MH17) which include Malaysia as the state operating the aircraft agreed for the investigation to be lead by the Dutch authorities.

“Malaysia was offered (to lead the investigation). However, we told them that we were too occupied with MH370, which happened four months before that. We were far away from the crash site,” he said.

Azharuddin said this at the MH17: The Quest For Justice conference here today.

The day-long conference was jointly organised by the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) and the Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) in collaboration with the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

Azharuddin also shared with the audience that Malaysia, which only became member of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing MH17 after six months into the tragedy, downloaded and listened to the voice recordings from the black boxes of the aircraft before it was officially handed over to the Dutch authorities.

“The black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder were taken by us from the rebels through Colonel Mohd Sakri Hussin.”

Mohd Sakri was the chief negotiator of the ‘Dozen Persons’, a Malaysian team tasked with entering Ukraine covertly to secure not just the bodies of the victims but also the downed aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder, mere days after the tragedy took place.

Image result for mh17 black box

“We have downloaded and listened (from the recordings from the black boxes) as we wanted to know what exactly happened the last seconds of the incident.

“The preliminary report was made known and I had to inform the (Malaysian) government (of the findings).”

To a question from a speaker at the forum on the location of the black boxes now, Azharuddin said all the evidence was kept by the Dutch authorities.

“This is because the prosecution of this case would be done in at the Court in the Netherlands.

“That is why it (all the evidence including the black boxes) is with the authorities there.

“It is the same with the Lockerbie incident involving Pan Am Flight. The international requirement is that the evidence is kept at the place where the prosecution is being conducted,” he said.

Pan Am Flight 103 exploded when it was flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec 21, 1988.

Twenty six years later, flight MH17, which was flying 298 passengers and crew including 43 Malaysians was shot down near Hrabove, a village in the eastern part of Ukraine.

The aircraft had departed Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and was on its way to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down.

Flight MH370 vanished from radar while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.


Charges to be brought against four involved in MH17 downing in Donbas in 2014 after their names made public

Charges against the first four suspects in the downing of a Malaysia Airline Boeing plane (flight MH17) over occupied Donbas in 2014 will be brought after their names are made public by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Ukraine's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Olena Zerkal said.

"The names will be announced. Charges will be brought. After that, the Criminal Court of Schiphol (the Netherlands) will start working to consider this case. But until the court establishes their guilt, we cannot say they are guilty ... They are only the top. Naturally, then the number of people who are involved in this will be much larger than the four people who will be named," Zerkal told Interfax-Ukraine in an exclusive interview.

When asked if this concerns the Russian army's senior officers, she answered in the affirmative, explaining that the transfer of such weapons as the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, which was used to shot down the plane, "is impossible without the top brass's permission."

The deputy minister clarified that "there is already all the information about how the Buk arrived, but there is no information about who shot, who is responsible."

After that, she said, Bellingcat, an international group of researchers, who collect and analyze information from open sources, is expected to deliver their presentation.

"There will be another interesting presentation by Bellingcat. They always go further than the official investigation team," Zerkal said.

She said that the representatives of the Netherlands and Australia are jointly moving "as part of their claim against the Russians for the downing of MH17 as a state." "They have already held one round of consultations with them, and now they are moving towards the second round of consultations to bring Russia to justice as a state," she said.

"So far this is international legal responsibility. These are all complex processes, and they are treated in a very careful and balanced way, and, unlike us, they understand that international legal responsibility in international law cannot be handled in a hurry," Zerkal added.

Source: https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/594455.html

PM Malaysia: Where is the evidence?

Malaysia wants evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the flight MH17 tragedy in 2014, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir said while the Malaysian government agreed that the plane was brought down by a Russian missile, it cannot be certain that the missile was launched by Russia. “They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence? We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine.

"You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians. It could be by the rebels in Ukraine, it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile,” said Prime Minister. “We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it and the idea was not to find out how this happened but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it to the Russians. This is not a neutral kind of examination,” said Dr Mahathir.

I've a question. Why does Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team not ask such simple question? I know. There are too much politics in this tragedy. I mean, there is too much politics then so little the true.

Dutch PM Rutte discusses MH17 probe with Ukraine's President-elect Zelensky

Rutte says he is looking forward to working with Zelensky.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has discussed the probe into MH17, a Malaysian Boeing shot down by Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in summer 2014, with Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Just spoke with upcoming Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to congratulate him on his electoral victory. Among other things, we talked about stability in the region and the importance of progress on the MH17 dossier. I look forward to working together," Rutte wrote on Twitter on April 24, 2019.

UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines' MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over militant-occupied territory in Donetsk region. All 298 people on board who were citizens of 10 countries were killed in the crash. The majority of the victims, 196, were citizens of the Netherlands. The Dutch Safety Board October 13, 2015, issued a report on the causes of the accident. It was revealed that the plane had been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The Joint Investigation Team in its report published on September 28, 2016, confirmed that the plane had been downed by a Russian-made Buk brought to Ukraine from Russia. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said his office had identified 100 "persons of interest" in the investigation, including those who organized the arrival of the rocket and oversaw its transportation from Russia to Ukraine and back.

Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10530345-dutch-pm-rutte-discusses-mh17-probe-with-ukraine-s-president-elect-zelensky.html