Dutch PM says he understands MH17 families’ frustrations

Rutte Paris Attacks presser
Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaking to reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting on the Paris Attacks. Nov. 14, 2015 (photo: Rijksoverheid). (Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaking to reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting on the Paris Attacks. Nov. 14, 2015 (photo: Rijksoverheid))

Prime Minister Mark Rutte understands that the relatives of flight MH17 victims are frustrated that the criminal investigation into the disaster is taking so long, he said in response to a letter the relatives sent him to get hold of radar images of the plane crash, the Telegraaf reports.

"I understand very well what the families write. The criminal investigation requires much time and thus much patience from them. We continue to do our utmost to ensure that the culprits will not go unpunished. It is difficult, but in this phase my responsibility lies in being hesitant", the Prime Minister said on Wednesday, according to the newspaper.

"The tension between precision and speed and between openness and confidentiality is frustrating. I realize that very well"

The relatives asked Rutte to get radar images of the disaster from the Ukraine, Russia and the United States. "We think that these radar images are extremely important for the investigation, and the truth", they wrote. They find Russia's claim that data related to the crash was not stored unlikely and the Ukraine's excuse that no images were made due to maintenance unbelievable.

Rutte pointed out that the Dutch Safety Board concluded that "Russia did not save the radar images and that the Ukraine's radar systems were not turned on due to maintenance". "The countries report that there are no radar images", he said. In the case of the United States, the Public Prosecutor is in "constant close contact" with the country on the radar images.

During the course of this week, the foundation representing the MH17 survivors received t of the disaster and texts in Ukrainian and Russian. Experts concluded that the images are authentic. The information was handed over to the Public Prosecutor, who will determine whether they can be used in the criminal investigation.

Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed, 196 of them were Dutch.