Three Russians and one Ukrainian to face MH17 murder charges

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MH17 murder charges

Ever since 17 July 2014, the Kremlin and its supporters have obfuscated and lied about what might have happened to MH17, and howled about a lack of evidence for separatist or Russian complicity.

Now, investigators are confident they have enough evidence  at least in the case of the four men named on Wednesday, to secure a conviction in a Dutch court.

Four named as first to be charged over death of 298 people on flight downed over Ukraine. Dutch-led investigators have named four Russian-backed separatists as their first suspects for the shooting down in 2014 of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over east Ukraine

The investigators said on Wednesday they had reviewed intercepted phone conversations, as well as open-source information, and concluded that the men had conspired to transfer and fire the Buk missile system that brought down the passenger jet during its flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014, killing 298 people.

Criminal charges against the four men are expected to begin in the Netherlands in March 2020.

The suspects were named as Igor Girkin, a former colonel of Russia’s FSB spy service; Sergey Dubinskiy, employed by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency; and Oleg Pulatov, a former soldier with the GRU’s special forces spetsnaz unit. All were Russian soldiers previously sent abroad.

A fourth suspect, Leonid Kharchenko, is a Ukrainian. He led a military combat unit in the city of Donetsk as a commander, it was alleged

Investigators said the soldiers “formed a chain linking the DNR with the Russian Federation”. This link was how the separatists obtained heavy equipment from Russia including the Buk launcher, which was used to fire at MH17 with “terrible consequences”.

The accused did not “push the button” themselves but were responsible for bringing the anti-aircraft system to eastern Ukraine, it was alleged. They could therefore be held criminally liable for the murders of 298 people, investigators said, adding that international arrest warrants had been issued.

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