The Dutch Foreign Minister, Affairs Stef Blok, said that the Dutch government regrets that Vladimir Tsemakh, who is the suspect in the case of the MH17 aircraft crash, became part of a prisoner exchange under pressure from Moscow, reports Interfax-Ukraine, citing the letter published on the Dutch Parliament's website.
Blok recalled that in mid-August, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office informed the Dutch government that Tsemakh could become part of the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine. Ukrainian Prosecutor's office did everything possible to make Tsemakh available for criminal investigation. Ukraine and the Netherlands held several consultations at the highest level on this issue through diplomatic and political channels.
"The government urged the Ukrainian authorities not to include Tsemakh into the prisoners exchange," said Dutch Foreign Minister.
"The Ukrainian authorities promised to postpone the exchange for some time to allow the Dutch Prosecutor's office to interrogate Tsemakh. Ukraine is an important partner in the Joint investigation team and in bringing to justice those, who are responsible for the MH17 tragedy, as provided by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166. However, the government deeply regrets that Tsemakh became part of this exchange under Russian pressure, which means that he is currently in Russia," the Dutch Foreign Minister added.
He also recalled that Russia is still obliged to cooperate under UN Security Council Resolution 2166.
Blok noted that the criminal investigation continues, and according to the Prosecutor's office, exchange of the prisoners has no effect on the process which will begin on March 9, 2020.