İrem UZUN -TDO- Russia announced on Thursday it would withdraw from consultations with the Netherlands and Australia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014. Russia's Foreign Ministry accused the Netherlands and Australia of not trying to establish what happened in the disaster and instead make "vicious" attempts to pin the blame on Moscow.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels during fighting in eastern Ukraine, international investigators say. All 298 people on board were killed, two-thirds of them Dutch nationals. After years of collecting evidence, a Dutch-led international Joint Investigation team (JIT) last year said the missile launcher used to hit the civilian airplane came from a Russian army base just across the border.
"Hostile acts by the Netherlands have made any continuation of the trilateral consultations and our participation senseless," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. "Australia and the Netherlands have obviously not tried to understand what really happened in summer 2014, but rather just wanted to secure a confession from Russia and compensation for the victims' relatives," it added. Moscow said it will continue its cooperation in the investigation, but in a different format.
The Dutch government regrets Russia’s decision to halt consultations, Foreign Minister Stef Blok said on Thursday. “I cannot exclude any actions (against Russia) for now, but first and foremost is my invitation to the Russians to come back to the negotiating table,” Blok said.