22 families of MH17 passengers in January 2016 sent a letter to president Putin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kerry of the US and president Poroshenko of Ukraine. In the letter the families request to hand over radar and satellite images. The letter sent to Poroshenko contained the questions listed below:
Please, could you provide answers to our following questions:
- Is it correct that Ukraine never recorded any primary radar data?
- Does Ukraine possess any back-up systems that received similar radar data?
- Are there alternative possibilities to retrieve the primary radar data from the Ukrainian systems?
- Does Ukraine possess any satellite images that are relevant to the MH17 downing?
- Are you willing to investigate all possibilities for retrieving (raw) primary radar data, back ups, and/or satellite data or images and make them available to DSB, the Joint Investigation Team and/or the United Nations?
At July 12 2016 the families finally were able to read the response of Ukraine. It took Ukraine 6 months and pressure by Dutch PM Mark Rutte to respond.
President Poroshenko however decided not to sign the letter. The letter was written by vice prime minister Gennadiy Zubko. So the letter was not written by the president, not by the prime minister, not by the First Vice Prime Minister but by one of the four vice prime ministers in Ukraine.
Ukraine does not answer any of the questions asked by the families. Also Ukraine lies about the fact that DSB experts concluded that Ukraine had provided all the information sufficient for investigation materials on this matter.
End of March 2015 a special envoy of DSB travelled to Ukraine to obtain raw primary radar. Only then Ukraine made clear to DSB that primary radar was not available. Likely Ukraine told DSB that primary radar stations were switched off for maintenance. Later, when a Dutch expert doubted that three radar stations were switched off at the same time, Ukraine changed the story stating one of the radar stations was destroyed in June while the other was in maintenance. Thr third was out of range to detect MH17.
The response of the families to the letter of Ukraine is:
-disappointed in the response which was sent after 6 months and only after intervention of PM Rutte
-no answers were given to questions on radar and satellite images
-we are being redirected by Ukraine to Dutch prosecutor and DSB
-Ukraine does not grab the opportunity to make things clear about radar maintenance
-Oekraine does not provide clearness and does not make itself less suspicious
-Russia did not answer at the same level. Russia responded via an publication at Russia Today by head of Rosaviatsiya/FATA. No reply was given by Russian State.
The full text of the Ukraine letter is shown below:
To the families of Dutch nationals victims of the accident of the flight MH17
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
With regard to your request to the President of Ukraine I would like to inform you on the matters brought up as follows.
The Ukrainian people perceived the downing of Boeing-777 of Malaysian Airlines (flight MH17) as a national tragedy. We deeply condole with all those who lost their relatives, friends and compatriots in this terrible accident. It is our joint obligation before the victims to find out all circumstances of the accident, determine its objective reasons and hold those guilty of it accountable.
To this end, Ukraine provided international experts with access to the crash site in accordance with the Agreement dated 23 July 2014between the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation and the Dutch Safety Board on Transferring the Investigation of MH17 Air Accident. Moreover, on 28 July 2015, Agreement between Ukraine and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the International Mission for Protection of Investigation was concluded. Similar agreements were entered into with Australia (25 July 2014) and Malaysia (1 August 2014). Besides, on 7 august 2014, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium entered into an agreement upon establishment of a Joint Investigation Team for criminal investigation of the crash based on the Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. In December of the same year, representatives of Malaysia joined this Joint Investigation Team.
Ukrainian experts together with their colleagues from other countries as well as representatives of international organizations in the sphere of civil aviation took active part in technical investigation conducted by the Dutch Safety Board after it was transferred to the latter by the Ukrainian Party.
The official report prepared by the Dutch experts on the result of investigation into the MH17 crash contains detailed analysis of how the flight was taking place over the territory of Ukraine and the conclusion as to what became the cause for its crash, that was published in October 2015.
It is worth mentioning it in particular that in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the recording, storage and use of the surveillance data from radars used for air traffic service, is organized and is being permanently carried out. The recording of data from primary and secondary radars is done digitally with the help of automatized systems of air traffic management. The air traffic service was conducted at the moment of the accident with the use of data from secondary radars which is fully in compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
It is also worth bringing to your attention that all the available information on MH17 flight surveillance was provided to the Dutch Safety Board within the framework of the investigation of the crash in line with ICAO rules, the experts of which concluded that the Ukrainian Party had provided all the information sufficient for investigation materials on this matter.
Moreover, the necessary information is being provided to law enforcement bodies of the Netherlands coordinating the respective criminal investigation conducted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising representatives of Australia, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Malaysia and Ukraine. Therefore, the inquiries for additional information, if any, should be directed to the respective Dutch institutions.
I would like to reassure you that in spite of the resistance on the part of the Russian Federation, that in July last year vetoed draft resolution of the UN Security Council upon establishment of an international tribunal for MH17 crash, Ukraine continues to actively cooperate together with other countries concerned in creating an effective mechanism of holding those guilty of this terrible tragedy accountable.
Head of Interdepartmental Commission
on Coordination of Investigation of Air Accidents,
Vice-Prime- Minister of Ukraine –
The Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing
List of families of Dutch nationals victims of the accident of the flight MH17 of
Malaysian Airlines who submitted a letter to the President of Ukraine