Investigators officially accuse four pro-Russian military officers of missile attack that shot down MH17

14:50, 19 June 2019
World
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REUTERS

Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov, and Leonid Kharchenko all worked for the military intelligence agency (GRU) of the "Donetsk People's Republic" at the time of the attack, investigators said, Business Insider Malaysia wrote.

Girkin, Dubinskiy, and Pulatov are Russian nationals; Kharchenko is Ukrainian.

The JIT plans to try the suspects in a criminal court in The Hague beginning March 9, 2020.

In order for the men to be tried in person, they would need to have been successfully apprehended by that date, which may prove difficult. The JIT said the men's names will be added to watchlists around the world.

The investigators said they will ask the Russian and Ukrainian governments to cooperate with their probe.

Read alsoIdentifying persons linked to MH17 downing: fresh report by Bellingcat

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in a field in war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, after being hit by a Russian-made Buk missile.

The plane, a Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, went down with 298 people on board. There were no survivors.

The crash site was outside the city of Donetsk, which was held by Russian-backed militants fighting to break away from the state of Ukraine.

Earlier on Wednesday, open-source investigators at for the website Bellingcat also published a report naming 12 Russian and Ukrainian nationals who they said "had a role in organizing or facilitating the transport of the Buk missile launcher" that shot down MH17.

Girkin, Dubinskiy, Pulatov, and Kharchenko are part of the 12 people named. Bellingcat said identified them through intercepted phone conversations that discussed the Buk missile.

International investigators have long suspected Russian-backed separatists of carrying out the attack.

In a preliminary report published last May, the Dutch-led MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said the missile came from the Russian military's 53rd antiaircraft missile brigade based in Kursk, a city near the Russia-Ukraine border.

They cited distinctive identifying marks on recovered missile fragments in support of their conclusion.

Russia has repeatedly denied its involvement in the attack.

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