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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Update: September 30, 2016

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Dutch Foreign Ministry Summons Russian Ambassador in The Hague for Rebuke Over MH17 Remarks
The Dutch Foreign Ministry summoned Russia's ambassador in The Hague for a diplomatic rebuke after Moscow made remarks critical of the Netherland's investigation into the MH17 shoot-down by Russia-backed separatists, Reuters reported:

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Russian reactions to the investigation's findings "cast doubt on the integrity, professionalism and independence" of the investigators.

"The Russian Ambassador has been made to understand that such unfounded criticism is unacceptable," the ministry said in a statement.

Yesterday, September 29, the Russian Foreign Ministry castigated the Dutch report on MH17, TASS reported:

"We deeply regret over the low quality of the international probe into the Malaysian Boeing disaster in Ukraine in 2014 and its politicized nature, which have become finally obvious for all after yesterday’s report by a representative of a joint investigative team," Zakharova said.

"Yesterday, unfounded and unsubstantiated claims were announced on their behalf that the military hardware that had shot down the Boeing had allegedly crossed into the Russian border," the spokeswoman said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called as "a hundred percent fake" the record of telephone talks presented by the investigative team as a proof of the complicity of the Donetsk People’s Republic militia in the airliner crash.

"Competent Russian specialists have carried out an expert study of one of these records," the diplomat said.

"It was clearly established that this was doctored up," she said.

The Kremlin has frequently claimed that Ukrainian intercepts of communications of the Russia-backed separatists were "fake" yet those who have tracked the separatists in confirmed videos recognize their voices, and ultimately the Dutch investigation accepted the tapes made by Ukrainian intelligence.

In 2014, Igor Bezler, the GRU officer and commander of the separatists in Gorlovka (Horlivka), known as Bes or "Demon," admitted that the audio tape published by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) was indeed from a conversation that did take place, but claimed that he wasn't referencing MH17.

The Dutch investigators obtained testimony from a Russia-backed separatist to determine the route of the Buk used to shoot down MH17, and sifted through many other pieces of physical evidence as well as intercepted communications to make their report.

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Dutch Inquiry Links Russia to 298 Deaths in Explosion of Jetliner Over Ukraine

Russia, a nuclear-armed superpower, has already vetoed a Dutch-backed request to the United Nations to establish an international tribunal. Russia's Constitution, in any case, prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens to stand trial abroad. And in the vanishingly unlikely event that suspects are handed over, it is unclear where they would stand trial.

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Sep 30, 2016 22:19 (GMT)

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick