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Dutch Prosecution Serves Charges on 4 MH17 Defendants
3 February, 2020

The prosecutor's office of the Netherlands has brought in an indictment against four persons involved in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing MH17 flight over the Donbas in 2014. They have been summoned for investigative actions.

READ MORE: 5 Years Since MH17 Downing: Following the Footsteps of Russia’s Involvement

This was reported by the Russian TASS news agency with reference to the lawyer of one of the accused Elena Kutina.

According to her, one of these defendants — Oleg Pulatov — will be defended by an international defense group, which will include two Dutch lawyers and one Russian.

The Joint Investigation Team announced the names of four suspects in the crash in June 2019. These are:

Russian citizens: 

  • Igor Girkin-Strelkov, then-minister of defense of the "DPR";
  • Sergei "Khmury" Dubinsky, a subordinate of Strelkov, Major-General of the Russian army, who headed the so-called military intelligence of militants;
  • Oleg Pulatov (call sign "Gyurza" and "Khalif"), a subordinate of Dubinsky, headed the second division of the "DPR" military intelligence (GRU).

Ukrainian citizen:

  • Leonid Kharchenko (call sign "Mole"), who headed one of the units of the "DPR GRU" and together with Pulatov accompanied Buk to Snizhne where it fired the missile.

READ MORE: JIT Indicts 4 for MH17 Downing, Bellingcat Names More Possible Suspects

The four men have been put on the international wanted list. The trial is due to begin on March 9, 2020 in the Netherlands.

It was also in June 2019 that the Ukrainian special services captured Volodymyr Tsemakh, an anti-aircraft gunner from the Donetsk region, who said in a video that he had "hidden the Buk". However, in September, the Ukrainian authorities transferred him to Russia within the prisoner exchange. The investigation also changed Tsemakh's status from a witness to a suspect in September.

READ MORE: Is This MH17 Suspect the Reason Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap Stalled?

The Netherlands formally sent requests for Tsemakh's extradition to Russia, but Moscow refused and Tsemakh returned to the non-government-controlled part of the Donetsk region.

Background

Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 operating on the Kuala Lumpur - Amsterdam flight was shot down in Donbas near Snizhne in the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew aboard the plane died.

An official investigation confirmed that the Buk missile that downed the MH17 aircraft was brought to the occupied territory of Donbas from Russia and belonged to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, which is located in the Kursk region.

The Russian government denies the involvement of its structures in the tragedy, claiming that the plane was shot down by Ukrainian troops from the village of Zaroshchenske.