"We won't exclude any legal steps", PM Rutte says about MH17 investigation
"The disaster with MH17 is a black page in our history", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said after the Council of Ministers on Friday. He cut a trade mission to India short to discuss the interim results of the investigation into the disaster with the Council of Ministers. "We won't exclude any legal steps", the Dutch Prime Minster said, NU.nl reports.
On Friday morning the Netherlands and Australia formally held Russia accountable for its role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The Joint Investigation Team has conclusive evidence that the BUK missile used to down the passenger plane came from the 53rd Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces. The JIT also revealed that Russia is not cooperating in the investigation, and not providing the requested information.
The decision to formally hold Russia accountable was not taken lightly, Rutte said. "We now know that Russia bears responsibility, namely for delivery of the BUK missile", he said. "This step is far-reaching but necessary given the results of the investigation team on Thursday."
Rutte called it "regrettable" that Russia again raised doubts about the results of the JIT investigation. According to the country, it is not involved in the investigation into the disaster and, partly because of this, has no confidence in the investigation results, according to RTL Nieuws. Russia still blames the Ukraine for the disaster.
Holding the country accountable is the first step. "We have to think about what happens next", Rutte said, refusing to speculate about what other steps will be taken. He did point out that Russia previously agreed, in UN context, to an investigation into what happened in the MH17 disaster.
The Joint Investigation Team consists of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. The Netherlands and Australia formally held Russia accountable, because they are the two countries with the most victims in the disaster, Rutte said.
The United States Foreign Ministry released a statement calling on Russia to cooperate in the investigation into the MH17 disaster. "We recall the UN Security Council's demand that those responsible be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability", the statement reads. "We call upon Russia, in particular to respect and adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 2166. It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down."
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board the plane were killed, including 196 Dutch.