A court in the Hague has confirmed that Russia-affiliated combatants are responsible for the 2014 MH17 Malaysian Airlines jet crash which took the lives of 298 people travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Novaya-Europe’s newsperson reports from the courthouse in the Netherlands. The accused in the case were Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov (all three Russian nationals) and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian national.
The district court in the Hague. Photo by Ekaterina Glikman, Novaya Gazeta Europe
The court has ruled that Russia had complete control over the territory of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ at that moment and that at least one of the accused, Igor Girkin, was in touch with the Kremlin, including Vladislav Surkov, the former assistant to Vladimir Putin. There is also evidence that the so-called ‘DPR’ was sponsored by Russia.
Combatant immunity is not applicable to the accused since both Russia and the ‘DPR’ deny any mutual ties, court says. All except Oleg Pulatov were found guilty. The latter was represented in court by his defendants. The court notes that the man did not use his opportunity to provide testimony and only used video addresses to communicate with the court. He, however, was eventually found not guilty.
Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko have been sentenced in absentia to life terms. The court has also declared that overall damage caused by the incident surpasses €16 million.
Reporters following the court session in the Hague. Photo by Ekaterina Glikman, Novaya Gazeta Europe
The Buk missile that hit the jet was launched from the vicinity of Pervomaiske in the Donetsk region, the court believes based on intercepted phone calls, footage and photos. The fragments of the missile were later found on the crash site.
Russia’s armaments company Almaz Antey denies its connection to the crash, blaming it on Ukraine.
On 17 July 2014, a Malaysian Boeing en route from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur was shot down by a Buk missile in the sky over Ukraine. All 298 people (15 crewmembers and 283 passengers) on board were killed. Eighty of them were minors.