After a Dutch court ruled that a passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, Kyiv is demanding that the Russian leadership be punished. The news at a glance.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the sentencing of those responsible for the downing of the MH17 passenger plane a good eight years ago as “very important”.
But only when their leadership in Russia is also condemned for it will this be a secure basis for peace, he added in his video message yesterday. He had previously made it clear on Twitter that he saw the Russian leadership as responsible. Impunity leads to further crimes, he added, alluding to the Russian war of aggression against his country that started at the end of February.
A Dutch court had previously sentenced two Russians and a Ukrainian to life imprisonment in absentia. They are said to have brought a Buk-type air defense system from Russia to eastern Ukraine and used it to shoot down the passenger plane with flight number MH17. All 298 on board the Boeing, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, perished in the July 2014 crash.
Moscow rejects verdict
As expected, Russia rejected the Dutch court’s guilty verdict in shooting down the passenger plane as politically motivated. “Both the course and the results of the negotiations show that it was based on the political mandate to strengthen the version (…) of Russia’s involvement in the tragedy,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website yesterday.
The Russian leadership had previously rejected the process and always denied responsibility. “The trial in the Netherlands has every chance of going down as one of the most scandalous in history – with its long list of oddities, inconsistencies and questionable conclusions of the prosecution, which nevertheless flowed into the verdict,” criticized the Foreign Ministry once again.
Zelenskyj welcomes the extension of the grain deal
In his video message, Zelenskyj was also satisfied with the extension of the grain deal. “Despite all the difficulties, despite various manipulations by Russia, we will continue to export agricultural products through our Black Sea ports,” said the 44-year-old. The agreement, which is about to expire, was extended by 120 days yesterday through the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations.
Zelenskyj emphasized the importance of Ukrainian grain exports for the food supply of poorer countries. Around 450 ships have left the Ukrainian Black Sea ports around Odessa since the start of the grain deal, which ended a months-long Russian sea blockade, bringing food to countries such as Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Somalia and Sudan.
Duda: Ukrainian investigators cannot be involved without further ado
According to Polish President Andrzej Duda, the participation of Ukrainian specialists in the investigation into the rocket hit on Polish territory is bound by the regulations of international legal assistance. “If guests from Ukraine want to see the ongoing investigation, then it will be possible to show them, as I was shown today,” Duda said yesterday after visiting the site in the village of Przevodov.
“But when it comes to actively participating in the investigations, to accessing documents and information, then specific contractual bases are required in the sense of international law and international agreements.” Zelenskyj had previously said that experts from his country would be allowed to take part in the investigation. The corresponding confirmation came from Poland.
IAEA demands Russian withdrawal from Zaporizhia nuclear plant
The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on Russia to give up the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Moscow should withdraw its military and civilian personnel immediately and give up its “unfounded claim to ownership” of the nuclear power plant in south-eastern Ukraine, according to a resolution passed by the committee in Vienna last night.
The Board of Governors was also extremely concerned that Ukrainian employees at the plant were being pressured by the Russian side and that arrests had also been made.
According to diplomats, the third IAEA resolution against Russia since the beginning of the war in Ukraine was supported by 24 countries. China and Russia voted against. The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has been under Russian occupation since March. Since then, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe has repeatedly come under fire.
US arms aid to Ukraine continues
US military support has totaled $18.6 billion since the war began in late February, according to the US Department of Defense. In recent months, the Americans have sent out various packages in rapid succession – often from US military stocks. The Pentagon confirmed yesterday that the Americans’ own operational readiness is not endangered by this. There had previously been rumors that the United States would soon no longer be able to supply some weapons.
That’s going to be important today
After the G20 meeting, the APEC summit will start. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) unites countries around the Pacific – and thus representatives of Moscow and Washington are meeting again.
Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, a key economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin, will represent Russia. Because of the many Asian states, Moscow sees APEC as an opportunity to press ahead with its propagated turn to the East and thus weaken the effects of western sanctions.