Russia withdraws from MH17 talks with Netherlands, Australia | News | DW | 15.10.2020

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Russia withdraws from MH17 talks with Netherlands, Australia

Moscow has accused the two countries of "viciously" trying to pin the blame on Russia. The Russian foreign ministry said it would continue its cooperation in the inquiry into the crash but "in a different format."

Russia announced on Thursday it would withdraw from consultations with the Netherlands and Australia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014.

Russia's Foreign Ministry accused the Netherlands and Australia of not trying to establish what happened in the disaster and instead make "vicious" attempts to pin the blame on Moscow. 

"Hostile acts by the Netherlands have made any continuation of the trilateral consultations and our participation senseless," the ministry said in a statement.

"Australia and the Netherlands have obviously not tried to understand what really happened in summer 2014, but rather just wanted to secure a confession from Russia and compensation for the victims' relatives," it added. 

Moscow said it will continue its cooperation in the investigation, but "in a different format."

On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 departed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. As it passed over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Moscow separatist rebels, a missile hit the carrier, killing all 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch citizens and 38 Australians.

An ongoing investigation into the crash by a team of international experts found that the a oviet-designed BUK missile was brought into Ukraine from a Russian military base and that the mobile launcher that was used to fire it was also later brought back to Russia.

Russia denies involvement 

Since 2018, Russia, Australia and the Netherlands have held talks aimed at uncovering the causes of the disaster. 

In July, the Netherlands sued Russia in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) with a state complaint in a bid to support the relatives of the victims.

Russia said the move to take the case to the ECHR "after just three rounds of talks" demonstrates the Netherlands' "intention to take the vicious path... of unilaterally assigning responsibility to Russia for what happened."

There is a separate, ongoing criminal trial in the Netherlands over the case, with four men being tried in absentia for their alleged role in the downing of the plane.

Moscow has vehemently denied Dutch accusations of its involvement in the disaster, instead blaming the crash on Ukraine. 

In response to Russia's decision to withdraw from talks, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that "The Netherlands greatly regrets this decision," adding: "It is extremely painful for the survivors."

mvb/rs (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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