Prosecutors found “indications” that Putin approved use of missile that shot down MH17 flight

The Netherlands will continue to hold Russia accountable for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated this on February 8.

Rutte declared that it was a “bitter disappointment” that the international investigation into the downing of MH17 had finished without any further prosecutions for insufficient evidence.

“We will continue to call the Russian Federation to account for its role in this tragedy,” Rutte said in a statement, Reuters reported.

On February 8, the international prosecutors announced they had discovered “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the use of a Russian missile system in Ukraine that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

However, the prosecutors stated that the evidence of Putin’s and other Russian leaders’ involvement was insufficient to warrant a criminal conviction and that their investigation would be closed without further prosecutions.

A Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence operatives and a Ukrainian separatist leader of murder in November 2022 for arranging the Russian BUK missile system that was used to shoot down the aircraft. The three men who were tried in absentia are still on the loose.

When the airplane was shot down, Ukrainian soldiers were fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province.

However, as part of the three men’s convictions, the Dutch court determined that Russia had “overall control” of rebel troops in Donetsk beginning in May 2014.

Prosecutors stated that they could not identify the soldiers who fired the missile system that brought down the airplane, which originated from the Russian army’s 53rd brigade in Kursk.

They highlighted a 2014 phone intercept between Russian officials as proof that Putin’s consent was required before the separatists’ request for equipment could be approved.

They also aired a 2017 conversation between Putin and the Russian-appointed head administrator of Ukraine’s Luhansk area, during which they talked about the war situation and a prisoner swap.

Russia has denied participation in the civilian airliner’s downing, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Фото: Aviation Explorer

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