NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he welcomes the announcement of first four suspects in the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in Russia-occupied Donbas in July 2014.

"I welcome today's announcement by the Joint Investigation Team that four suspects will be prosecuted for crimes in relation to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014. This is an important milestone in the efforts to uncover the full truth and ensure that justice is done for the killing of 298 people from 17 countries," Stoltenberg said in an official statement posted on NATO's website on July 19.

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"I have full confidence in the independence and professionalism of the investigation and the Dutch legal system. As the United Nations Security Council has made clear, all countries should cooperate with efforts to establish truth, justice and accountability," he said.

As UNIAN reported, Dutch Chief Prosecutor and Chairman of the Joint Investigation Team Fred Westerbeke said on June 19 that the trial of the suspects in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing over Donbas in the summer of 2014 would begin on March 9, 2020. The first four suspects in the MH17 tragedy 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 the leader of the "reconnaissance battalion" of Russia-led forces.