The Public Prosecutor's Office of the Netherlands has refused to disclose the status of Vladimir Tsemakh, a witness and potential suspect in the case of the Flight MH17 downing in Ukraine in 2014, stressing that the investigation is still underway
BRUSSELS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th September, 2019) The Public Prosecutor's Office of the Netherlands has refused to disclose the status of Vladimir Tsemakh, a witness and potential suspect in the case of the Flight MH17 downing in Ukraine in 2014, stressing that the investigation is still underway.
Local media previously reported that the Netherlands had asked Moscow to extradite Tsemakh, who had just returned from Ukraine to Russia under the Moscow-Kiev agreement on simultaneous detainee release. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Dutch police had already questioned Tsemakh, a former Donetsk People's Republic's commander, before he was sent to Russia.
"We will not make statements in this regard, as it is linked to the ongoing investigation into MH17 downing," a spokesman for the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Netherlands told Sputnik on Friday when asked to clarify Tsemakh's status in the case.
Tsemakh was the ex-commander of an air defense unit in the city of Snezhnoye, controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, at the time when the MH17 flight was downed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine's easternmost region have exchanged blame for the downing of the plane.
The investigation into the MH17 crash is being conducted by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which has accused Russia of instigating the attack. According to JIT, Flight MH17 was brought down by a missile that came from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, based near Russia's city of Kursk.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the JIT's accusations, saying that the claims were unfounded and the investigation was biased. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has not been granted access to the investigation and that Moscow would be able to recognize its results only if given access to the probe.