Four accused of downing flight MH17
June 19, 2019 -- Three Russians and a Ukrainian have been charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, that killed all 298 passengers and crew on board.
A team of international investigators announced the charges, saying the trial will start in March 2020 at the Hague District Court, sitting in a high-security courtroom near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
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 that even if the four may not have pushed the button itself to launch a Buk missile that downed the plane, they were implicated in the preparations of the launch, making it sufficient to charge them.
The Dutch-led investigators concluded in May 2018 that the Buk missile system belonged to 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, based in the Russian city of Kursk.