Friday, 17 October 2014 - 10:19
MH17: Rutte demands Putin's "maximum cooperation"
Prime Minister Mark has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to demand "maximum cooperation" in the investigation into the disaster with flight MH17. "I have just spoken to President Putin in Milan and demanded maximum cooperation in resolving the MH17 disaster" Rutte posted on Twitter. This conversation reportedly happened on the sidelines of the high-level Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit, which began on Thursday in Milan.
The investigation into the cause of the MH17 disaster and the recovery of the remains and belongings of the victims has been slowed significantly by the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists. "It is an emotional subject and of course I am angry at all parties who have made it impossible to start work at the crash site," Rutte wrote on his Facebook page "But it is now up to us to reach our goal. I'll use every opportunity to highlight the issue" In early August Dutch forensic experts called off the search of the area due to the ongoing fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev. Four Dutch experts returned to the site on Monday to continue the search. Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17th while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers on board. The Netherlands is in charge of investigating the cause of the disaster and identifying the remains of the victims. A total of 272 bodies have so far been identified. A preliminary report released in September by the Dutch Safety Board, stated that the aircraft broke apart in mid air after being hit by "a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside". This supports the theory that the aircraft was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile fired from the ground.
‘Ik heb zojuist in Milaan met pres. Poetin gesproken en aangedrongen op maximale medewerking bij afwikkeling van de ramp met MH17.’-MinPres— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) October 16, 2014