Finland says even if Russia objects it is their responsibility to assist MH17 investigation

Finland has an obligation to cooperate in the investigation of the crash of flight МН17 in eastern Ukraine, a Finnish politician and Chairman of the Opposition Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP), Antti Rinne, believes.

According to the politician, this is a serious crime, and that’s why Holland, who is leading the international investigation, sought the assistance of his country.

“On the other hand, there are weapon supply contracts and these contracts have limits,” he said, as YLE reprots.

“It is clear that international agreements oblige us to provide assistance, that is the starting point,” Rinne stressed.

The oppositionist didn’t elaborate on how Finland’s involvement in the investigation of the case can impact their relationship with the Russian Federation. He did comment on the current state of bilateral relations. According to the chairman of the party, Russia, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, is seeking to return to its status as a great world power.

In Russia itself, Rinne believes, there are problems with the development of democracy. He cited the elections to the State Duma where the turnout was quite low as an example. This shows that Russians don’t trust the levels of political power.

According to another expert, the head of the Parliamentary Research Centre at the University of Turku, Markku Jokisipilä, the European Union and Russia interpret international agreements differently.

During the press-conference on 30 September, President Sauli Niinistö noted that Finland made a courageous decision “in a rather complicated situation” (regarding the BUK missile tests). And what happens if someone responds to Finland’s decision, will the EU help us?” the President asked.

Jokisipilä is convinced that the leader of the country is referring to the interpretation of the terms of the contract. Finland will need support if it decides to provide additional information regarding the missile system and Russia responds to it negatively.

“I hope it will not happen, but if it does, in principle, the EU-countries have pledged their support to one another,” Jokisipilä stated.

According to him, the EU, as is known, is united in sanctions against Russia.

Finland referred also to the UN Security Council resolution in which they called on every country to cooperate in the investigation of the crash of the Malaysian plane which resulted in the death of 298 people, mostly Dutch citizens.

According to Jokisipilä, the resolution, probably, is not as binding as other ones. Trade agreements are governed by national legislation. That is why Russia can emphasize the importance of the Article on the confidentiality of information. For Russia, it is a matter of political expediency, he stated.

Finland assisted Dutch specialists with the implementation of the testing of the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, which on 17 July 2014, shot down the Malaysian Airlines flight. Finland has at its disposal Buk anti-aircraft missile systems which it purchased from Russia. Information about Finland’s participation in the experiment was leaked to the Dutch press. At an emergency press conference, President Sauli Niinistö stated that the Netherlands themselves insisted that the information about the tests should be kept secret. He also noted that Russia was informed about the tests.

  MH17, Ukraine, Russia, Finland

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