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Relatives of MH17 plane crash victims launch court battle against Russia in ECHR — TV

May 25, 21:53 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

A group of 270 Dutch citizens - relatives of the victims of the plane crash in Donbass - filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights

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THE HAGUE, May 25. /TASS/. A group of 270 Dutch citizens - relatives of the victims of the plane crash in Donbass - filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Dutch TV program "Ein Vandaag" reported on Friday, citing the plaintiffs’ lawyer Jerry Skinner.

According to him, the Dutch have joined the claim that had been filed earlier by 33 relatives of the victims from Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand. Skinner did not specify the sum of the compensation. However, he noted that the victims’ relatives are entitled to millions in damages. He expressed hope that this case would not only compensate for the losses financially, but also "add pressure on Russia with the aim to strengthen cooperation during the criminal investigation of the tragedy and extradition of the suspects." The attorney also noted that the ECHR is the only place where individuals can file a claim against Russia.

According to "Ein Vandaag", about 130 relatives of the victims have applied to the ECHR.

The Boeing-777 passenger plane operated by Malaysian Airlines crashed on July 17, 2014, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in the east of the Donetsk region. As a result, 298 people, citizens of 10 states, were killed in the crash. The parties to the armed conflict in Donbass accused each other of being complicit in the tragedy.

On May 24, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, released its update on the criminal investigation into the MH17 crash. According to the JIT, "the BUK-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade (hereinafter 53rd brigade), a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation."

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the accusations saying that none of the Russian Army’s air defense missile systems had ever crossed the border between Russia and Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the investigation was reminiscent of the Skripal case as there was no evidence.

Nevertheless, on May 25, Australia and the Netherlands issued a statement saying that they "hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17." "The Netherlands and Australia are now convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17. The government is now taking the next step by formally holding Russia accountable," the statement reads.

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