Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 10:15
Details of diplomat meeting in Ukraine revealed
On July 14th last year, three days before the disaster with flight MH17, there was a meeting in Kiev. During this meeting, diplomats were briefed on the security situation in the Ukraine. For weeks the Second Chamber has been trying to get more information regarding this meeting from the First Chamber, but to no avail. Details of this meeting has now come to light thanks to photographs and a report of the Ukrainian government, the AD reports. The Dutch deputy ambassador Gerrie Willems was present at the meeting and the diplomats were told that a heavy anti-aircraft device had been used in the Ukraine for the first time. An Ukrainian Antonov-device had been shot down by separatists. According to the AD, this meeting takes place every two weeks. The deputy head of the presidential staff, Valeriy Chaly, even calls it the "now traditional meeting", the AD reports. The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kilmkin, and Chaly welcomed about 20 guests. Among them were ambassadors Christoff Wiel (Germany), Simon Smith (Great Britain) and Geoffrey Pyatt (United States). In the pictures they are listening to Klimkin and Chaly. One of the pictures shows Gerrie Willems of the Dutch embassy talking with Simon Smith. These pictures can be seen on the AD's website. According to the Ukranian summary, dated July 15th, the diplomats were briefed on the Russians illegally crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border with "heavy military equipment" and the delivery of "Russian weapons and technology to militants" in the Donetsk and Lugansk region. The summary states that the downing of a cargo plane earlier on July 14th was mentioned "in particular". "In particular Mr. Chaly reported that the Antonov An-24 of the army was hit in a way that is not applied by the terrorists." This refers to the Russians or their heavier weapons, the AD reports. Klimkin added that "it flew at an altitude of 6,500 meters, and could only be hit by anti-aircraft or other device". According to the AD, this addition is crucial. Other devices had already been shot down in the Ukraine, but for the first time heavy equipment was used against this Antonov on the afternoon of the 14th. This was also emphasized by the Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey. "Given the fact that the aircraft flew at 6,500 meters, an attack by Manpads - rocket launchers from the shoulder - is impossible. In short, the plane was shot down by another, more powerful missile system." This means that the diplomats and their governments were warned about a growing threat in the air three days before MH17 was shot down. It seems clear that the American diplomats quickly informed the White House about this. According to AD, American journalists reported on the Antonov on July 15th, using the same wording as the Ukrainian government. "Only highly advanced weapon systems are able to achieve this level." According to the Dutch government, the embassy reported information about the meeting "through the usual interdepartmental channels". The government would not elaborate on what exactly was reported, but the information did not result in adjustments. "From the information that was known at that time, the Cabinet did not conclude that additional measures had to be taken", the Cabinet wrote to the Second Chamber two weeks ago. Prime Minister Mark Rutte later added that the government did not make a mistake. To the dissatisfaction of the Second Chamber, the Cabinet did not release details about the briefing or a report on the meeting.