Suspect in MH-17 case is willing to testify if Dutch investigators come to Donbas

The retired Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militant Vladimir Tsemakh is willing to testify to the Dutch investigators about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 catastrophe, but only if the investigators come to the part of the Donbas that is controlled by pro-Russian militants, Interfax reports, citing Tsemakh’s attorney, Anatoly Kucherena.

“Naturally, the questioning can only take place in his homeland, in the Donbas,” the attorney said.

However, Kucherena added that Tsemakh will only testify if the Dutch prosecutors have the authority to “guarantee his rights”. The lawyer explained that Tsemakh finds himself in a tricky situation, being wanted in Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands.

On October 9, Dutch Parliament unanimously supported a decision to investigate Ukraine’s involvement in the MH17 catastrophe, which took place over the Donbas in 2014. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, supported the decision, noting that the current government must remain open to cooperation with international investigative teams, as it has been “since the first minutes of this catastrophe”.

Vladimir Tsemakh is one of the Netherlands’ five chief suspects in the MH17 case. On June 29, Tsemakh was arrested for 60 days, but on September 5 he was released on his own recognizance. On September 7, he was handed over to Russia as part of a “35 for 35” prisoner exchange.

Australia, the Netherlands and a number of members of European Parliament urged Ukraine not to include Tsemakh in the exchange. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Dutch investigators did have an opportunity to question Tsemakh before he was handed over. After the exchange, the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service sent Russia an official request to hand over Tsemakh. Zelensky also missed an opportunity to meet with the Dutch Prime Minister at the UN.

  MH17, Donbas, Tsemakh, Netherlands