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4 people charged with murder over downing of flight MH17

The plane travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was hit by a Russian-made missile in July 2014.

The reconstructed front of the Malaysia Airlines plane that was downed by a missile over Ukraine
The reconstructed front of the Malaysia Airlines plane that was downed by a missile over Ukraine
Image: AAP Image/Lloyd Jones via PA Images

FOUR PEOPLE HAVE been charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, international investigators have said. 

Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, along with Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko will be prosecuted, the Dutch-led probe said. 

“Today we will send out international arrest warrants for the first suspects that we will prosecute. They will also be placed on national and international wanted lists,” Wilbert Paulissen of the Netherlands National Police, told a press conference.

The Boeing 777 travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was hit by a Russian-made BUK missile on 17 July 2014 as it travelled over territory in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists.

A total of 298 people were killed in the incident.

Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke today said they were the “four who will be held accountable for bringing the deadly weapon, the BUK Telar, into eastern Ukraine”.

The same investigation team said in May 2018 that the BUK anti-aircraft missile which hit the Boeing 777 had originated from the 53rd Russian military brigade based in Russia’s southwestern city of Kursk.

Russia vehemently denies involvement and instead blames Kiev.

Relatives of the victims earlier said they had been told the trial of the four men would begin in the Netherlands in March 2020.

However, the suspects are likely to be tried in absentia as Russia does not allow its nationals to be sent abroad for prosecution, while investigators said Kharchenko’s whereabouts were currently unknown.

Close to two thirds of those killed on the flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur were Dutch, while 38 Australians were also lost.

Includes reporting by © – AFP 2019

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