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MH17: Dutch mayor says Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughter should be deported

He made the comments before the bodies of the Dutch people who died onboard the aircraft returned home
  • @kashmiragander

The mayor of a Dutch city called for the Russian President’s daughter to be deported on Wednesday, following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from which the Netherlands bore the brunt of the death toll.

During an interview with a radio station on Wednesday morning, Pieter Broertjes, the mayor of Hilversum, northern Holland, said Maria Putin, Vladimir Putin's daughter, should be removed from the country.

The 29-year-old daughter of Vladmir Putin is said to live in the western village of Voorschoten with her Dutch boyfriend.

Broertjes later posted a message on Twitter to apologise for his remarks, and admitted they were “not wise”.

He added: “they stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many will recognise,” according to the Guardian.

His comment came on a day of national mourning, when victims of last week’s tragedy finally returned to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, in a carefully choreographed and nearly silent ceremony in Eindhoven.

The families of the 193 Dutch people who died onboard the passenger jet had spent days waiting for pro-Russian separatists to co-operate before body were lifted from Ukrainian fields and carried by truck, train and plane to the Netherlands.


From the airport, the bodies were driven under military police escort to the central city of Hilversum where forensic experts were waiting at a military barracks to carry out the painstaking task of identifying the remains.


Video: Bodies arrive in Netherlands

Elsewhere in the country, flags flew at half-staff on Dutch government buildings and family homes around this nation of 17 million.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says many bodies could be identified quickly and returned to their loved ones, but some families may have to wait weeks for a positive identification.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, undeterred by the shooting down of MH17 just days ago, separatist rebels continued their fight to hold onto territory in eastern Ukraine, and said they attacked two Ukrainian Air Force jets in the same area where the passenger plane fell.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said the Su-25s were shot about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of the wreckage from the Malaysian jet. The separatist group Donetsk People's Republic said on its website that one of the pilots was killed and another was being sought by rebel fighters.

The attack revived questions about the rebels' weapons capabilities — and how much support and training they are getting from Russia. The US accuses Russia of backing the separatists and fueling Ukraine's conflict, which has brought Russia's relations with the West and key trading partners in Europe to a two-decade low.