Fri, 19 Jul 2019

Dutch prosecutors say three Russian nationals and a Ukrainian will be tried on murder charges for their alleged roles in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, which killed all 298 people on board.

In announcing the first criminal charges in the air disaster, members from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) told a news conference that evidence showed a direct line of military command between Ukrainian separatists and Russia.

To back up the claim, they played phone calls of the suspects discussing the incident by telephone, via social-media chats and a computer image reconstruction of events.

The suspects are to be tried starting in March 2020 in the Netherlands, the international investigators said.

Kyiv welcomed the announcement and urged Moscow to 'acknowledge' its responsibility over the tragedy, while Russia alleged that the investigation was aimed at 'discrediting' the country.

'Today, we will send out international arrest warrants for the four suspects that we will prosecute,' Dutch chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said.

'They will also be placed on national and international wanted lists. Because of that, we will reveal their full names and we will show you their pictures. The four persons are: Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, and Leonid Kharchenko,' he added, noting that Kharchenko was Ukrainian, while the others held Russian citizenship.​

The airliner flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was blasted out of the sky on July 17, 2014, over territory in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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