Netherlands: Prosecutors charge four suspects with murder over MH17 downingJune 19, 2019 at 12:45 (GMT) · Published
Prosecutors in Nieuwegein announced on Wednesday that they were charging three Russians and a Ukrainian national with murder for their alleged role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
The charges stem from a Dutch-led international investigation which has concluded that the plane was shot down by a Russian-made missile, reportedly on the basis of communications intercepts provided by Ukrainian intelligence services.
Russia has denied all accusations that it was involved in the crash, which resulted in the deaths of all 298 people on board, and has stated that while the Buk missile used to down the Boeing 777 was manufactured in Moscow in 1986, it was subsequently delivered to the Ukrainian Army and never returned.
In a written statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MFA) dismissed the JIT’s charges on alleged involvement of Russian servicemen in the MH17 crash and said the investigation was based on unfounded accusations and not facts. Moscow also voiced concern over JIT’s bias, based solely on what it claimed was forged evidence by Ukraine. Russia pledged its own resources to find the truth about the MH17 downing.
The three Russian military officers accused with involvement were named as Oleg Pulatov, Igor Girkin, and Sergey Dubinskiy, with the Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko also being named, and international arrest warrants have been issued for all four men.
Girkin was serving as Minister of Defence of the Donetsk People's Republic at the time with the other three men all working under him.
The Defence Ministry of the Donetsk People's Republic has denied the allegations that it was involved in the MH17 crash.
A prospective trial date of March 2020 was set by investigators.
Russia does not form part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which is made up of police and criminal justice authorities from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
*SCRIPT UPDATED with official Russian reaction.