SP International Affairs spokesman Jasper van Dijk answers questions on developments in Ukraine

29 July 2014

SP International Affairs spokesman Jasper van Dijk answers questions on developments in Ukraine

The Dutch National Parliament today discussed with the government the question of the air disaster involving Flight MH17 and its consequences. Below, SP Member of Parliament and spokesman on international affairs Jasper van Dijk answers four questions on the return of the victims’ bodies to the Netherlands, the progress of the investigation into the disaster and the SP’s position on Ukraine and Russia.


SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk during Tuesday’s debate on MH17 and Ukraine

How do you see the developments of the last week?

The SP highly appreciates the way in which during the last week the bodies of the victims of Flight MH17 were able to be returned to the Netherlands. The ceremony and also the national day of mourning were extremely impressive. The SP extends thanks to all of the people who made such an effort for those bereaved by the air disaster.

The mission to Ukraine and the enquiry appear to be at an impasse. Why is that the case?

The situation in the disaster area is completely uncertain and reports of fighting around the site continue to come in. This is making it very difficult for the Dutch researchers and military police officers to get to the site. We find the government’s decision to reject a massive deployment of soldiers sensible, as this would only add fuel to the fire and become part of the conflict in Ukraine. It’s a difficult matter about which to decide: you want to see the bodies and the victims’ possessions secured in every way, but not to put the investigators in danger. The risk of renewed violence a military presence would bring is too great.

Is Ukraine doing enough to help with the investigation?

Little has come of the ceasefire that Ukraine has promised. I have asked the government whether it is possible that the Ukrainian army will use the presence of international observers to recapture the area from the separatists. We do not know if that is the case, but it could be. It’s of great importance that the Dutch team can do their work in complete peace. That can only happen if a ceasefire is observed. If the violence doesn’t stop, pressure must also be put on the government in Kiev, if that can be done together with other European countries. The same pressure must be exerted on the rebels who have power over the disaster area in their hands.

A great deal of criticism is being levelled at Russia. Does the SP share these criticisms?

Russia has been stoking the fires in Ukraine for the last six months. Russia annexed the Crimea and is doing too little about the escalation in east Ukraine. Criticism of this course of action is therefore justified. That’s why, for example, we support an arms embargo on Russia, including the suspension of continuing arms sales from Europe. But the west too needs to be blamed, for example for holding out to Ukraine the prospect of NATO membership.

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