25 may / 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question on the sidelines of SPIEF 2018 (St Petersburg, May 25, 2018)

Question: Australia and the Netherlands believe that Russia was implicated in the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine. Are they offering a dialogue on this issue?

Sergey Lavrov: Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok rang me up earlier today and reported what was already known. Their prosecutor has reached a new level in the investigation. They are practically in no doubt that the Buk antiaircraft missile system had arrived from the Russian Federation. I asked for facts that prove these allegations. He gave no facts, saying that they want the Russian Federation to help them establish them on the basis of unconfirmed suspicions.

I reminded my colleague, Mr Blok, that the Russian Federation cooperated with the investigation more than anyone else despite the fact that we had not been invited to join the Joint Investigative Team (JIT). I also reminded him that a specialist from Russia’s Almaz-Antey Concern staged a live experiment, with detailed data handed over to the Netherlands. We have provided a lot of factual information, including primary data from radars that were operating in the Rostov Region on that tragic day. We have responded to all legal assistance requests sent by the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office. Moreover, we received a new request yesterday, to which we were physically unable to respond. I expressed surprise that they had announced the attainment of a new level in their work on the same day they sent the request and even before they received a reply. They also added that it would take a long time to complete the investigation.

This strongly reminds me of the so-called Skripal case, when they said it was “highly likely” that the Russians did it, but the Scotland Yard immediately reported that the investigation was continuing. And it is not over to this day.

It’s like a déjà vu. If our partners decided to do it again and speculate on this grave human tragedy (hundreds of people died) to achieve their political aims, I’ll leave this on their conscience. To quote what President Putin said yesterday at his joint press conference with President of France Emmanuel Macron, we are still ready to cooperate despite numerous questions that arise in our minds in connection with this situation. The important thing is that this cooperation should be honest and that the information and facts we provide should not be ignored or used selectively. This is probably where the whole problem lies.