JIT Say They Have Eyewitness to Missile Fired at MH17
24 February, 2020

The international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has found at least one eyewitness to the missile launched at the Malaysian Boeing flight MH17 flying over the Donbas in July 2014.

This was reported by CBS with reference to the head of JIT Fred Westerbeke.

Investigators also have no doubt that the missile was launched from the Russian “Buk” system.

On top of that, they noted that Russia has not assisted the investigation over the last five years.

READ MORE: Netherlands Rejects Russia’s Request to Hand Over MH17 Case

"Because what they should've done is give us all the information and all the proof we needed in this difficult investigation," Westerbeke said. "They should have told us that at the second day after it happened, they should've told us, 'We made a mistake,' or 'We did something which shouldn't have happened."

Earlier, four Ukrainian prosecutors were brought in to assist the work of the JIT.

READ MORE: Dutch Prosecution Serves Charges on 4 MH17 Defendants

The JIT 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" Dubinskiy, 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 MorePossible 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 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.

In May 2018, the 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.