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Russia Complains MH-17 Investigation Keeps Secrets from Moscow. True, with Russia as the Main Suspect

Indonesia -- Widi Yuliono a relative of John Paulisen, shows photographs of John Paulisen (Top-L), Yuli Hastini (Top-R), Arjuna Martin Paulisen (L) and Sri Paulisen (R) who are victims of the Malaysian Airline flight MH 17 plane downing in eastern Ukraine
Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova

Spokesperson, Russian Foreign Ministry

“Demanding from the Russian side answers to queries by investigators that seemingly have already been fully answered by Russia, the Dutch authorities simply categorically refuse to give up their own secrets, which could be useful in the course of investigation.”

Partially True
Dutch authorities confirm that not everything has been shared, but also that Russia has not responded to investigator’s requests

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova complained on Wednesday, January 23, that Dutch authorities were refusing to share with Russia all the details of the ongoing investigation into the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines MH-17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, which killed all 298 people abroad. Zakharova also claimed that despite the Netherlands’ non-cooperative attitude, Russia has fully satisfied every request from the Joint Investigative Team (JIT).

Of the two claims -- that Russia is fully satisfying JIT requests and the Netherlands is not sharing all details with Russia – only the latter is true, while the first remains debatable and likely false.

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Jeichien de Graaff, a press officer for the Dutch National Public Prosecutor's Office in Rotterdam, told “The Russian authorities have not executed all the JIT requests so far. Since quite some time several simple questions have remained unanswered.” The press office did not provide further details regarding the nature of those questions.

De Graaff also confirmed that Zakharova was correct in saying that the Russian side has not been granted full access to material from the investigation.

As Russia has stressed it is willing “to fully cooperate” with the investigation, “the JIT is gladly expecting the answers,” De Graaff said, adding: “That does not mean that (Russia) will have access to the complete investigation: it is not customary to give insight in an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Investigators have settled on Russia as the culprit in the downing of the civilian aircraft.

​In May 2018, the JIT released a report concluding that the Russian military was responsible for shooting down MH-17 and killing its passengers and crew. Shortly after the report’s release, the Netherlands and Australian authorities announced they were initiating a formal procedure to bring Russia before an international tribunal and hold it responsible for this crime, which they said was proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Russia has obstinately denied any involvement in the crime, producing about 60 different versions of the MH-17 downing, many of which and other fact-checkers have examined and debunked.