MOSCOW, December 5 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized the necessity to continue work to ensure a comprehensive investigation of the Malaysian Boeing’s crash at a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders on the sidelines of the OSCE foreign ministerial meeting in Basel.
“The sides discussed the state and prospects of further development of the Russian-Dutch bilateral cooperation, as well as the most urgent issues on the international agenda,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.
“The ministers exchanged opinions on the course of international investigation of the circumstances of and reasons for the crash on July 17 of a Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the sky above Ukraine,” the ministry said. “Lavrov stressed the necessity to continue systemic work to ensure a comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation of the air crash in strict accordance with Resolution 2166 of the UN Security Council and rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” it said.
On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner on flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Most passengers — over 190 people — were Dutch nationals.
The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the probe and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report published September 9 that “Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”
UN Security Council Resolution 2166 in particular says that the SC “condemns in the strongest terms the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine resulting in the tragic loss of 298 lives” and “supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.”
It also says the Council “demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site” and “demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.”.
DONETSK, November 12 -- A team of accident investigators has arrived at the site of the MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine but will not be able to start recovery of the wreckage of the plane.
Broadcaster Nos reported earlier on Tuesday that the team of 10 to 15 investigators was on its way from Donetsk in order to begin clearing the wreckage, but is now reporting that there is disagreement between the Dutch and the Ukrainians. What is causing the disagreement is unclear, Nos says.
According to Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the Dutch mission, there is no agreement between the investigators and the Ukrainians at the moment. ‘The Dutch team is ready to begin recovering the wreckage, but we shall now continue with the work we were doing last week,’ Aalbersberg told Nos. ‘We found human remains last week and we expect to find more during this search.’
Any human remains or personal possessions which are found will be returned as quickly as possible to the Netherlands. Flight MH17 came down over eastern Ukraine in July, killing all 298 people on board. Since then, Dutch recovery teams have been hampered in their work by fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels.
AMSTERDAM, November 10 -- More than 1,600 relatives of people killed in the MH17 disaster gathered in Amsterdam on Monday afternoon for a memorial ceremony.
More than 1,600 relatives of people killed in the MH17 disaster gathered in Amsterdam on Monday afternoon for a memorial ceremony. The gathering, at the Rai exhibition centre, was also attended by king Willem-Alexander, queen Máxima, princess Beatrix, ministers and MPs.
Prime minister Mark Rutte started the proceedings and spoke about the questions that the relatives of those who died have been left with. ‘What if their holiday was due to start a day later? What if the plane had been delayed?’ the prime minister said. ‘Who has not asked themselves these questions since July 17?’
After the prime minister’s speech, children laid flowers in the centre of the hall. Then Marco Borsato sang Voor Altijd (for ever). Some of the relatives also said a few words. ‘We feel as if we have lost a limb,’ said Anton Kotte, who lost his son, daughter-in-law and grandson in the disaster. ‘Luckily, the memories will never disappear.’ Everyone on board the Malaysian Airways plane was killed when it was brought down, apparently either by pro-Russian rebels or Ukranian army, on July 17.
Most were Dutch but there was also a sizeable number of Australians and Malaysians. Outside the entrance to the Rai, flags from the 19 countries who lost people in the disaster were flown at half mast. The ceremony was simultaneously translated into the languages of other victims.
ROTTERDAM, October 25 -- The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice announced Friday that a total of 284 victims in the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine have been identified.
The progress came after experts identified anther six people last week, of which five were of Dutch nationality. The nationality of the sixth was not made known at the request of the embassies of the other countries concerned.
In the July 17 tragedy, the 298 passengers and crew members on board the Malaysia Airlines flight were all killed, which means fourteen victims remain unidentified more than three months after the incident.
The Netherlands leads the identification, which takes place in Hilversum. It is uncertain whether the remains of all victims are currently in Hilversum.
In early August the Netherlands stopped the recovery and repatriation mission on the crash site until further notice due to the deteriorating security conditions in the area.
The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice on Friday once again emphasized that it may take more time before every victim will be identified.
Related article: Ex-CIA Analyst: Ukraine, Malaysia, Netherlands conspiring to hide truth on MH17 crash
THE HAGUE, October 20 -- A Dutch relative of a victim of downed flight MH17 has travelled to the crash site in eastern Ukraine to search for the remains of his missing cousin, Dutch television reported on Sunday.
National public broadcaster NOS showed Robby Oehlers as he searched the burnt remains that still litter the site where the Malaysia Airlines flight crashed on July 17, killing all 298 on board.
Dutch forensic experts have so far identified 278 of the victims, but no trace has been found of Daisy Oehlers, 20, who was on her way to Bali with her friend Bryce Frederiksz, 23 when the Boeing 777 crashed.
German intelligence has accused pro-Moscow rebels of shooting down flight MH17 using missiles captured from Ukrainian government forces, media reported on Sunday.
BERLIN, October 19 -- Germany's foreign intelligence agency says its review of the crash of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 in Ukrainian has concluded it was brought down by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists near Donetsk.
After completing a detailed analysis, Germany's foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has concluded that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on July 19 in eastern Ukraine while on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
In an Oct. 8 presentation given to members of the parliamentary control committee, the Bundestag body responsible for monitoring the work of German intelligence, BND President Gerhard Schindler provided ample evidence to back up his case, including satellite images and diverse photo evidence. The BND has intelligence indicating that pro-Russian separatists captured a BUK air defense missile system at a Ukrainian military base and fired a missile on July 17 that exploded in direct proximity to the Malaysian aircraft, which had been carrying 298 people.
Evidence obtained shortly after the accident suggested the aircraft had been shot down by pro-Russian militants. Both the governments of Russia and Ukraine had mutually accused each other of responsibility for the crash. After a Dutch investigative commission reviewed the flight recorder, it avoided placing any blame for the crash. Some 189 residents of the Netherlands perished in the downing of Flight MH17.
BND's Schindler says his agency has come up with unambiguous findings. One is that Ukrainian photos have been manipulated and that there are details indicating this. He also told the panel that Russian claims the missile had been fired by Ukrainian soldiers and that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to the passenger jet were false.
"It was pro-Russian separatists," Schindler said of the crash, which involved the deaths of four German citizens. A spokesman for the German Federal Prosecutor's Office told SPIEGEL that an investigation has been opened into unknown perpetrators because of the possibility that the crash had been a war crime.
DONETSK, October 15 -- Prime Minister of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said on Wednesday nothing prevents international experts from working at the Malaysian airliner crash site in eastern Ukraine.
“The village where Boeing 777 crashed is located in the rear, and the commission can work there calmly,” Zakharchenko said, adding that he is surprised the debris of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 remain scattered at the crash site.
“Such a lack of action raises many questions,” he said. “Any piece of wreckage is evidence.”
Zakharchenko said noted once again that local militias were not involved in shooting down the plane. “All I know it that we have not shot it down.”
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 near the village of Grabovo in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, killing all 298 people on board.
The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the investigation and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report in early September that “Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.
THE HAGUE, October 13 -- Dutch officials on Monday returned to the crash site of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine where the search for remains and belongings resumed despite sporadic exchanges of fire.
The Dutch were part of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) team that has brokered a return to where the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in rebel-held territory on July 17.
"Four Dutch nationals were at the disaster site, as part of an OSCE team," Justice Ministry spokesman Jean Fransman told AFP. "Trucks are at the scene to take what's found somewhere before they're returned to the Netherlands," he said.
Members of Ukraine's State Emergency Services (SES) are conducting the search for body parts and possessions that resumed on Monday, he said. "Some personal effects have already been collected by the local population," Fransman said. "We hope that this will be done quickly but we will take all the time necessary."
All 298 people on board the flight were killed, two-thirds of them Dutch. Dutch forensic experts called off their search of the area in early August because of the ongoing fighting, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte lamenting the continued lack of access to the site. A fragile truce has been agreed in the area, with Ukrainian and Russian officials trying to shore up the ceasefire.
Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 while flying over insurgent-held territory in conflict-wracked eastern Ukraine.
The Netherlands is in charge of identifying the bodies and probing what caused the crash. A total of 272 of the dead have so far been identified. The findings of an initial report by a Dutch-led team of air crash investigators appear to back up claims that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile.
Kiev and the West have accused Moscow-backed separatists of shooting it down with a surface-to-air BUK missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies the charge and has pointed the finger at Kiev.
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