From Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, February 3, 2017:
The Netherlands claim Russia’s primary radar data fail to meet international standards
Over the past several months we received a large number of questions, to which we were unable to respond at the time, as we were awaiting an appropriate reaction from the Netherlands, in particular, with regard to its statement that the format of the primary radar data provided by Russia was not up to international standards. As we informed you, such data were transferred to the Netherlands. We expected a corresponding reaction and so did not comment on it. That was followed by statements from The Hague claiming that the format of the primary radar data provided by Russia did not meet international standards. Again, we waited for a while, believing that this would be followed by some official correspondence or response. After all, the data that we provided were transferred through official channels. However, considering the large number of questions on the issue, I am ready to comment on it now.
I would like to start by saying that our Dutch colleagues chose a rather strange method of relating their problem. All of this is being done through the media. Presumably, this is a new Dutch fashion: communicating with Russian official agencies through the media. After all, there is the concept of “legal interaction,” within the framework of which the confidentiality of certain aspects of communication is still relevant due to an ongoing investigation. This legal interaction is part of an investigation that is in progress. There is also diplomacy, and there are diplomatic communication channels. Strangely, the Netherlands forgets this.
There is another aspect that we find surprising and cannot possibly ignore. How can one explain the time that the Netherlands required to see the so-called failure to meet international standards? For instance, it took them three months to understand that the disc could not be read. Somehow, this is hard to believe.
We believe that the explanation of what is going on is very simple. It is simply that the official investigation is in no hurry. In the summer, the victims’ relatives will mark the third anniversary of this terrible tragedy. However, to date, there is no coherent answer to the question about its causes or who is to blame.
Instead of prompt and transparent action, we are still seeing attempts to make groundless and unsubstantiated accusations against Russia. This time, to all appearances, they are aimed at diverting the attention of the victims’ families, who are demanding the resumption of the search mission and are accusing the Dutch authorities of negligence and indifference. None of that is in the interest of our Western colleagues, who do not bother to look for an answer to the question about what actually happened there.
I would also like to say a few words about these international standards that, according to the Netherlands, the format of our primary radar data failed to meet. As Russian Aviation Agency Deputy Chief Oleg Storchevoi explained recently, international civil aviation standards do not set any requirements on the list of parameters or radar data recording or storage format. In investigating air accidents, the ICAO recommends ensuring close interaction with companies that have specialists, equipment and software to decode such information.
Russia will be pleased to help, provide specialist assistance and equipment. The only problem is that no one is in a hurry to send this kind of request to Russia.