THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Netherlands summoned Russia’s ambassador Friday to complain about Russian criticism of the Dutch public prosecutor’s office over the probe into the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
The Russian ambassador was called to the foreign ministry in The Hague over statements that the Dutch say question the office’s “professionalism, integrity and independence.”
The international criminal investigation concluded that a missile which destroyed the Malaysian passenger jet over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people aboard, was fired from rebel-controlled territory by a mobile launcher trucked in from Russia and hastily returned there.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said “given the convincing nature of the evidence, Russia should respect the results that have been presented, rather than impugning the investigation and sowing doubt.”
Asked about the ambassador, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov sought to portray it as a positive development.
“This is certainly good news, the head of our mission in the Netherlands will relay our thoughts on the subject,” Peskov told reporters Friday. “Dialogue is always a good thing.”
In a tit-for-tat move, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced later that the ministry would call the Netherlands’ ambassador to explain Moscow’s critical view of the Dutch probe’s conclusions. She added the ministry would complain about Dutch investigators’ refusal to take into account “objective information” provided by Russian experts.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied that any Russian air defense missile systems have ever been sent to rebels in Ukraine.
The Russian experts also said this week that newly found data from radar in southern Russia showed that the missile that downed Flight 17 did not originate in rebel-controlled territory in Ukraine. They said they would give that data to investigators.