In his first interview since being released in a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, key MH17 witness Vladimir Tsemakh said Dutch and Australian officials offered him Dutch citizenship and a house in the Netherlands during interrogations.
Tsemakh, a Ukrainian citizen, was kidnapped in the Donbass by Ukranian security services on June 27. He had been recorded on video saying that he commanded an anti-air brigade in eastern Ukraine and hid evidence of a Buk missile system, leading observers to speculate that Tsemakh may be a key witness in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. In September, Tsemakh was sent to Russia as part of a high-profile prisoner swap between Kiev and Moscow.
In the interview with the state-run RIA news agency, Tsemakh described how he was questioned by Russian-speaking Dutch and Australian police officials in Ukraine this summer.
“They offered [me] witness protection, Dutch citizenship and a house in the Netherlands,” Tsemakh said, adding that he refused their offers.
Tsemakh also said that he considers himself a victim of Ukrainian terrorism.
“They had no evidence against me. I did not participate in the [MH17] events…I only found out about the accident … in the morning the next day.”
Tsemakh is currently believed to be residing in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.