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Dutch PM: Too Early to Point Finger at Russia, Putin

The Netherlands will not rest until those responsible for the Malaysian Airlines crash are brought to justice, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.

Rutte told a news conference in The Hague it appeared that the Boeing 777 was brought down by an missile but that it is of utmost importance to get all the facts on the table first.

Pointing fingers without sufficient evidence would make it more unlikely that there would be an independent and international investigation into the crash, Rutte said.

Forensic team

A forensic team and accident investigators will leave for Kiev with foreign minister Frans Timmermans this evening.

Rutte said he had spoken to numerous world leaders about the crash and that included Russian president Putin. ‘Putin assured us that Russia wants a full, independent and international inquiry,’ Rutte said.

This was an initial step, the Dutch prime minister said. It is also crucial that there is free access to the crash site, including safe corridors for investigators, Rutte said.

Speculation

Speculation about who is responsible would only damage efforts to ensure there is a proper investigation, Rutte said, and he refused to comment on other world leaders who have already laid blame.

The number of Dutch nationals killed in Thursday’s Malaysian Airways plane crash increased to 189 on Friday afternoon, after all but four of the passengers’ nationalities has now been confirmed.

The dead include Antoine van Veldhuizen, director of the expat website group Expatica.com, along with his wife Simone and two small boys. The family were going on holiday.

Labour senator Willem Witteveen was also killed, as was Aids researcher Joep Lange, who was one of a number of people on their way to an Aids conference in Melbourne. Pim de Kuijer of Stop Aids Now is also thought to be among the dead. . .

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