THE HAGUE, July 17. /TASS/. New witnesses have emerged in the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash, Wilbert Paulissen of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said on Wednesday, as cited by the NRC newspaper.
"New witnesses have contacted us. Investigative activities continue, which is encouraging," he said at a meeting with families of the crash victims in the Dutch city of Nieuwegein.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk on July 17, 2014. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crew. There were nationals of ten states among the dead. The Joint Investigation Team looking into the crash comprises representatives of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
On May 24, 2018, the team gave an update on the investigation, claiming that "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 allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad. The missile, which downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, had been made in the town of Dolgoprudny outside Moscow in 1986, delivered to a military unit deployed to Ukraine and never brought back to Russia, Chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Missile and Artillery Department Lieutenant General Nikolai Parshin told a briefing.
Nevertheless, on May 25, 2018, 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 statement reads.
On June 19, 2019, the Joint Investigation Team announced that it had identified four suspects in the crash (three Russian nationals and one Ukrainian), adding that a trial was expected to begin on March 9, 2020. The Netherlands plans to seek their extradition and will ask Russia for an opportunity to question them.