Ukraine calls Russia a ‘terrorist state’ over the downing of MH17 

Ukraine called Russia a terrorist state for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER over eastern Ukraine in July 2014
Syahrin Abdul Aziz /

Ukraine called Russia a “terrorist state” at the United Nations (UN) International Court of Justice (ICJ) as hearings began in a case over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. 

The two countries went to court on June 6, 2023, over the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, registered as 9M-MRD, when it was overflying eastern Ukraine.  

Ukraine, acting as the plaintiff in the case, alleged that Russia violated the UN’s anti-terrorism treaty by giving weapons and equipment to pro-Russia rebels in 2014, which were also ruled responsible for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines aircraft. 

“Russia cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so it targets civilian infrastructure to try to freeze us into submission,” said Anton Korynevych, the Ukrainian Ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, as reported by Reuters. 

Korynevych went on to describe Russia’s actions as those “of a terrorist state”. 

Three subsequent hearings are scheduled for June 8, June 12, and June 14, 2023, according to the ICJs calendar. 

The court will hear from the Russian side on June 8, 2023. 

The Malaysia Airlines aircraft had been operating flight MH17 between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), the Netherlands, and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) when it was shot down by pro-Russian rebels.  

Judge Hendrik Steenhuis ruled that the aircraft was shot down by a Russian anti-air BUK missile on July 17, 2014. Steenhuis sentenced three of the four suspects to life sentences in November 2022. The suspects were tried in absentia. 

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