Hans de Borst, father of 17 year old Elsemiek de Borst who died in the downed plane MH17 wrote a letter in which he appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin:
"Thank you very much, Vladimir Putin, the separatist leaders and the Ukrainian authorities for the murder of my beloved and only daughter, Elsemiek. She was 17 years old. She wanted to become an architect. Named gentlemen, I hope that you are proud that you have killed the young life and that tomorrow you can look in the mirror again. I hope that this message will reach you, maybe in English, and you as intelligent people will be able to read it. Thank you again.
Elsemiek's father, Hans de Borst, whose life is ruined."
Citizen of Ukraine Alexandra Kovaleva wrote him a letter:
"Dear Hans de Borst,
Maybe you’ll never read this message. Maybe it’s even better.
I’m really sorry that your daughter had died in Boeing 777, downed by Russian terrorists in the sky of my country. Unlike Russia, my country never started the wars and never suffered from terrorists’ attacks. That’s why each death is a great shock for all of us. That’s why today Ukrainians get together in front of Netherlands Embassy bringing flowers, candles and toys for the killed kids; for your daughter as well. I know you think that we even can’t imagine what you feel now. And you are right. But we are honest in our feelings.
My name is Alexandra, I live in Ukraine and when thunderstorms come during the night I wake up scared thinking that my town is being bombed.
You wrote that your daughter was 17 and she wanted to be an architect.
Let me introduce you to Sergii Nighoyan. He was 21 and he was the only son in the family. He was killed on January 22nd 2014. He was the first victim of our ex-dictator Viktor Yanukovich’s police. Afterwards there were another burned, shot, blown up with grenades 100s people. Lots of them were the only sons, daughters, fathers, mothers… Bodies of these people were stored in the church across the road. And when we required justice your European politicians, they were joining the table to negotiate with murderer Yanukovich. And when we were saying last Good bye to our dead, European politicians were asking Ukrainian opposition (which now represents Ukrainian government, to which you appeal in your letter as well) to sign a peace agreement with Yanukovich leaving this murderer being a President another year, because our lives cost nothing for your government.
Do you know what does it mean to have a country-neighbor that treats you like vassal? Sure you don’t. You personally probably still think Ukraine is a vassal of Russia. But your great-grandparents had known what it is, in the far middle ages, when your country was fighting for independence from Spanish Empire. Too long ago to let you feel what happens right now between Russian and Ukraine.
And sure you don’t have to feel. This should not be your business. This is a job of world politicians to deal with this kind of problems.
We were thinking exactly like this.
When Putin had annexed part of Ukrainian territory – the Crimea peninsula, we thought that Western governments will follow their liabilities. Great Britain, USA and France had signed with Ukraine Budapest memorandum back in 1994, according to which they are obliged to secure the integrity of my country. Signing this document Ukraine had refused from nuclear weapon which it had at that time, since security was guaranteed by western governments. If West would not insist on this memorandum signing, likely Ukraine would still have a nuclear weapon and Russia would not go that far as it did, and no one would down the plane with your daughter on board. But unfortunately Ukraine was honest and followed the agreements, unlike the European countries and USA which easily damped it. The US and Great Britain did nothing besides just talks. And France, leaded by its president Hollande, not just damped the agreement, but keeps selling to Russia – the aggression county - their modern military ships. Why? Cause it’s profitable. As it was profitable for Europe to cooperate with Hitler back in 30-ies, feed him with Poland, Check republic, Austria. It was easy as it didn’t require of conscience to wake up. Hope, you do not try to wait from such people a real justice?
When Putin had started to bring his terrorists to the East of my country and provided them with the heavy weapon, EU politicians did nothing to stop him. They were calling for our government to negotiate peacefully with the Russian terrorists, which disemboweled civilians. And they had kind of sanctioned Russia but in reality it means nothing, childish sanctions, just to pretend that Europe had reacted.
Today, when Russia is shooting towards Ukraine from its territory already openly, Frau Merkel is sitting close to Putin during the World Cup final game and handshakes with him. Did you hear Russia is bombing Ukraine with no hiding? Sure, your newspapers don’t really share it. Why would you want to know that just in few hundreds kilometers from EU there is a war where Ukrainian only sons and daughters death count is over thousand. Yesterday, by the way, two Ukrainian students of 15 and 16 years old, were blown up at a Russian mine. You are not told about it because why would you need to know that country that supplies you gas and oil blows Ukrainian kids. Ukrainian kids are not profitable. But gas and oil are.
Each time when you fuel your car, think that maybe you fill it up with the gasoline from Russia’s oil. Each time when you boil the water think that maybe you use Russian gas for it. These profitable gas and oil made your European politicians to refuse from non-profitable Ukraine, to break their international obligations, and to pretend all these months that nothing is going on.
I do not tell that Ukrainian government is not guilty in your daughter’s death. In the end, back in February, while still being an opposition, hardly pressed by your European governments, our current government had signed the shameful agreement with Yanukovich. This agreement never came to force, but only because Ukrainian people didn’t let it happen.
This is to tell you that before blaming Ukrainian government maybe you make this list of guilty people a bit wider and add there your European governments. After all, this is them who were conducting secret negotiations with Putin all these long months, it's them who refused to listen when Ukraine was screaming about the open aggression of Russia. It’s them, your politicians, who forced our government to negotiate with pro-Russian terrorists – the ones who were-weaponed by Russia and who downed the Boeing 777 with your daughter on board. With your beautiful, talented and happy Elsemiek. Do you deserve justice? Do you think your government can provide it? Those politicians who shake hands with Putin? Sorry, I doubt on it.
I have not relation to Ukrainian government.
I can’t imagine your loss.
And I understand that you don’t mind what I’m writing here.
I’m just Ukrainian girl who wakes up when thunderstorms comes during the night thinking that my town is being bombed.
But once again.
I’m so sorry.
Translated by Olena Klopota