Rutte: the Netherlands will bolster the team in Kharkiv

The Dutch government has decided to send more people to Kharkiv (Ukraine) to bolster the team that remained behind after the suspension of the repatriation mission. Prime Minister Mark Rutte made this announcement following the cabinet meeting.

‘We are very keen to get back to the MH17 crash site to finish the job we unfortunately had to interrupt due to the unsafe situation on the ground,’ said the prime minister.

‘By enlarging the team, we will be best prepared if the opportunity presents itself to return. With more people there, we can act more quickly,’ said Mr Rutte.

The prime minister stressed that he did not want to raise false hopes. ‘There’s no guarantee that we’ll have access to the crash site,’ he said. ‘But make no mistake about it: if we are able to work at the site, we’ll get started straightaway.’

Ceasefire is a positive development

Mr Rutte called the ceasefire that took effect last week in eastern Ukraine a positive development. ‘But the security situation surrounding the crash site is still precarious,’ he said. ‘Of course, we’ll only send our people back to work there if it’s responsible to do so. This is also the position of our partners.’

The Dutch head of the repatriation mission, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, returned to Kyiv on Wednesday.