Dutch ask Russia for evidence in MH17 probe
“We’re in the process of contacting the Russian authorities to see if they have any information that’s of importance in the criminal investigation,” Wim de Bruin told AFP.
German weekly Der Spiegel on Monday ran an interview with chief Dutch investigator Fred Westerbeke on the cause of the fatal July 17 crash, which killed all 298 on board, including 193 Dutch.
Westerbeke told the magazine prosecutors wanted information from Moscow including radar data which the Russians said proved a Ukraine fighter jet was in the vicinity when the Malaysia Airlines plane went down.
Kiev and the West have charged that the Boeing 777 was blown from the sky by separatist fighters using a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia, but Moscow strongly denied the charges.
Russia said the plane was shot down by a Ukraine fighter jet.
An initial report by Dutch investigators issued last month found that the passenger jet was hit by multiple “high-energy” objects but did not apportion blame.
German intelligence has accused pro-Moscow rebels of shooting down MH17 with a BUK system captured from government forces, according to German media.
Meanwhile, the Dutch cabinet said it believed MH17 — on a routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur — was shot down from the ground or from the air.
“The investigation primarily looks at a scenario involving a ground-based attack and then at an airborne attack,” three cabinet ministers said in a combined letter to the Dutch parliament.
They reiterated: “It’s tempting to speculate how the disaster happened, but the Dutch government specifically will not.”
“We have to await the final report,” expected mid-2015, the ministers said.
So far 284 victims have been identified using dental, fingerprint and DNA matches.
“It’s getting tougher to identify the final victims as these indicators are untraceable from the remains,” the ministers’ letter said.
From the 14 outstanding victims yet to be identified, forensic investigators still have to find DNA for nine passengers.
“DNA has been found for five others among body parts, but it’s unclear whether they can by identified by it,” the letter said. -AFP