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Three men with ties to Russian intelligence who were convicted of shooting down flight MH17 in 2014.

A Dutch court sentenced three men with links to Russian security services to life in prison for the July 17, 2014, “BUK missile” downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, although the trial was held in absentia. And none of the accused are in custody. The fourth suspect has been released.

Court president Hendrik Steenhuis found Russians Igor “Strelkov” Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko guilty of killing the 298 passengers on board MH17, explaining that they played a fundamental role. role in the downing of this plane. Hendrik Steenhuis read the proposal in front of hundreds of relatives of the victims of this tragedy. MH17 departed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Girkin and Dubinsky had “high-level roles and coordination in the operation” that led to the downing of MH17, while Kharchenko was “directly involved” in the downing, and all three are now responsible for compensation to be paid. Relatives of those who died due to the damage caused.

The court acquitted the Russian Oleg Pulatov due to the lack of evidence of criminal liability and tried three other “co-authors” of the downing of the plane. Out of the four, he was the only one who was not tried “in absentia”, although he never appeared before the court, sending only a group of lawyers for his defense.

Steenhuis said Russia had “full control” of separatist forces in eastern Ukraine at the time of the downing. “Since mid-May 2014, Russia had, so to speak, overall control over the Donetsk People’s Republic.”


The court found that three people worked together to transport and launch the Buk missile system from a Russian military base in Ukraine.

Girkin, 51, was a colonel in Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and is believed to have returned to the battlefield in Ukraine. He was responsible for defense in an area where pro-Russian rebels were active and had direct contact with Moscow, and the court believes that on the day the plane was shot down he was commanding the battlefield and informing the Kremlin.

Girkin worked with 60-year-old Dubinsky, a former soldier in the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, and the intelligence chief of the separatist territory, maintained regular contact with Russia, and BUK was transferred to Ukrainian agriculture and returned to Russian-held territory. his authority. He played the role of “guide”, but left the tasks to his subordinates, Justice concludes.

Kharchenko, 50, is the only Ukrainian of the three and at the time of the tragedy was the commander of a pro-Russian rebel fighting group in the area, led by Dubinsky. He accompanied and supervised the missile launcher and his role was “instrumental” in the downing of the plane, making him an accomplice to the manslaughter and downing charges.

Pulatov is a member of the special Russian intelligence unit and in July 2014 served as the deputy head of the rebel intelligence service in Donetsk. The court considers that Pulatov was not present at the time of the missile launch and did not influence the plan, which is why he was acquitted, since his criminal responsibility for the tragedy could not be established.

The court regretted that it did not have information to indicate who gave the order to launch the missile against flight MH17, but warned that the BUK missile could not be launched “by mistake”, but there must be preconceived notions so that “the missile was fired deliberately” and the accused “They were clearly aware of the consequences.”

The court found plausible the theory that the defendants believed the target was a military aircraft, not a passenger plane, but because they did not have the immunity granted to combatants in wartime because Russia did not recognize its control of the area. The defendants did not declare themselves as members of the Russian army, so they did not have the right to shoot down the military plane.

The court considers it proven that the plane was “shot down by a BUK missile from an agricultural field”, rules out scenarios such as an accident and believes that Russia was involved in “armed action” in the Donetsk People’s Republic. (DPR).

Source: El Diario





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