NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says all countries have a responsibility to fully cooperate with efforts to ensure justice for the 298 victims killed in the downing of MH17 over Russia-occupied Donbas in July 2014.

"I welcome the start of the criminal trial for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. This trial is an important milestone in the efforts to ensure justice for the 298 victims and their families," he said in a statement on March 6.

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"I welcome the commitment of the Joint Investigation Team to establish the facts of the case and I have full confidence in the independence and professionalism of the Dutch legal system. It remains essential to establish truth, accountability and justice for the downing of flight MH17, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166. All countries have a responsibility to fully cooperate with these efforts," he said.

UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines' MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Russia-occupied territory in Donetsk region. All 298 people on board who were citizens of 10 countries were killed in the crash. The majority of the victims, 196, were citizens of the Netherlands. The Dutch Safety Board October 13, 2015, issued a report on the causes of the accident. It was revealed that the plane had been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The Joint Investigation Team in its report published on September 28, 2016, confirmed that the plane had been downed by a Russian-made Buk brought to Ukraine from Russia. On June 19, 2019, JIT investigators accused four Russia-controlled military intelligence officers of involvement in a missile attack that shot down MH17. The first four suspects in the MH17 case are Russian terrorist Igor Girkin (AKA "Strelkov"), who in the summer of 2014 was the so-called "Minister of Defense of the Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR"); Russian General Sergei Dubinsky (nom de guerre "Khmuryi"), who led the "DPR intelligence;" Oleg Pulatov (nom de guerre "Gyurza"), who in 2014 headed of "the 2nd division of the GRU of the DPR;" as well as Leonid Kharchenko (nom de guerre "Krot"), who was a leader of the "reconnaissance battalion" of Russia-led forces.

The trial is scheduled to start in the Netherlands on Monday, March 9.