BREAKING | Dutch authorities name four suspects in MH17 crash
This article was updated on June 19, 2019, 17:09 UTC+3.
The Dutch authorities are charging four suspects in Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash case, the joint investigation team (JIT) reveals, noting that the move marks the beginning of the Dutch criminal proceedings.
JIT reveals the four suspects are Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov (all Russian nationals), and Leonid Kharchenko (Ukraine). They are suspected of playing a "significant role" in the downing of the airliner. While they have not "pushed the button" themselves, their actions have led to the shooting of the MH17, the prosecutors believe.
The four suspects are to be charged for causing the MH17 crash, which led to the deaths of all 298 on board. The criminal proceedings will take place in the Hague, the Netherlands, starting on March 9, 2020.
JIT is the Dutch-led authority, comprised from representatives from five countries, which is investigating the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine in 2014. On June 19, 2019, the JIT announced an update of the criminal investigation during a press conference.
While the court date of the four suspects is already set, JIT continues to investigate what it calls “one of the most complex criminal investigations ever conducted”. “The investigation will continue to focus on the crew of the BUK TELAR and on persons who were an important link in the decision-making in the Russian Federation on military support to eastern-Ukraine in 2014,” JIT statement outlines.
On July 17, 2014, a Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines flying from Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) was shot down above Eastern Ukraine, near Donetsk. The 283 passengers (193 Dutch victims) and 15 crew members all died in the crash.
In May 2018, the JIT reached a conclusion that the BUK TELAR that was used to down MH17, originated from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation.
In response, Russia denied the missile launch system originated in its territory. In September 2018, Russian Defense Ministry officials offered their own theory that it was Ukraine that shot down MH17, quoting evidence in “newly declassified documents”. Kiev responded by calling the claim an “another awkward fake” by the Russian side.
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