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.

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.

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.”

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.

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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.

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.