In May, the Joint Investigation Team looking into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine released new findings that showed the Buk missile, which shot down the aircraft, belonged to the Russian army’s 53rd brigade.
Following the release of the findings, Netherlands, along with Australia, announced they will hold Russia responsible for the disaster, which killed 298 people on board. However, Russia continues to deflect the blame and deny its involvement in the tragedy.
Dutch MP Sybe Schaap says more than MH17 is fuelling tensions between Russia and the European Union.
“At this minute, we have a problem, and that has to do with the Russian invasion of Crimea and the Donbas. It does not have to do directly with MH17,” he said.
“But the Russians invaded and it is against the treaties we have engaged worldwide, it is against the balance we made in the world after the Second World War, so this is a very dangerous move the Russians are doing, in Georgia and Ukraine.”
Hromadske spoke to the Dutch MP Sybe Schaap about Russia’s involvement in Eastern Europe.
In July it will be four years since the Boeing was shot down over eastern Ukraine. I would like to ask what political impact it has on the Dutch government, on Dutch society, is this question present in political discussions?
Yes, but MH17 is now in the hands of justice and they are doing research work to discover what happened, and who did it, and bring who did it to court. At the time it was not allowed, not useful as well, for parliamentarians, and I am a member of the Dutch Senate, to express themselves on this issue. But you may be sure that we try to do justice, assisted by Ukrainians, Australians, by Belgians. We try to do a marvelous job of finding out the exact evidence, what happened and who did it and bring them to court. And how this is done, I withdraw from comments on that. The political side is one, we make law, but the maintenance of law is in the hands of justice.
Photo credit: HROMADSKE
What are the relations between Russia and the Netherlands right now?
Well, there are political problems between Russia and the European Union, with us being a member. We have our tensions. I hope in the future it will normalize again, but at this minute, we have a problem, and that has to do with the Russian invasion of Crimea and the Donbas. It does not have to do directly with MH17. But the Russians invaded and it is against the treaties we have engaged worldwide, it is against the balance we made in the world after the Second World War, so this is a very dangerous move the Russians are doing, in Georgia and Ukraine. So we reacted to that, and I think it's necessary. It is a political answer to irresponsible behavior from Russia, and they should feel that and understand it. But whether it works, I don't know, but we have to do that.
Talking about the U.S. government, we are now seeing a very different situation from what it has been before. Democracy is going into darkness there if we can say so, and they exited the human rights council, and so on. What do you think in this situation the European Union and Europe should do when the US, which has been a symbol of democracy and human rights?
Never take over the morality of your opponent. When they behave in a bad way, don't behave in the same way. So when they are aggressive, don't become aggressive. Of course, when America put tariffs on steel or aluminum, you have to respond in a way, but not by becoming as aggressive as Donald Trump is. It is absolutely dangerous what is happening there. It is the mere populism of the worst type you can have. And you can see there is a lot of resentment in that also, how he started to blame Hillary Clinton, blame the Mexicans, blame God knows who. It's always in negative terms. He can never speak about anyone in positive terms. So he is acting against Canada, and now he is acting against the European Union, and I am scared to death that he discovers in Kim Jong Un and Putin somebody who resembles him and gives him the idea that they are his friends, and they understand him better than all these bastards from Europe and Mexico and so on. This is a dangerous movement, but don't fall into the trap that he is making, don't behave in the way he is doing, do it in a normal way.
/By Liuda Kornievych