Putin heralds unit that provided MH17-striking missile with honorific title

Vladimir Putin has heralded the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade with a honorific “guards” title, the government website cites the decree issued by Russia’s president.

The military unit was rewarded for “collective heroism and bravery of its servicemen in combat actions defending their Fatherland and the interests of the state”.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) concluded earlier that MH17 flight was shot down using a Buk missile system belonging to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, launched from the territory controlled by the so-called “DPR”. JIT believes that Vladimir Putin could have personally approved a decision to allow the Russian missile system into Ukraine. This does not mean that Vladimir Putin directly ordered the downing of the plane. The investigators also noted that the existing evidence is not enough to file criminal charges against the Russian president.

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.

A court in the Hague confirmed that Russia-affiliated combatants were responsible for the 2014 MH17 Malaysian Airlines jet crash last November. The accused in the case were Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov (all three Russian nationals) and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian national. Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko were sentenced in absentia to life terms. The court has also declared that overall damage caused by the incident surpasses €16 million.

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The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the same day it was not content with Oleg Pulatov being found not guilty. RIA Novosti also announced that the investigation team would publish details of further investigation approximately in the spring of 2023.

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