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Dutch prosecution indicts four suspects in MH17 crash case

One of these defendants - Oleg Pulatov - will be defended by an international defense attorney group consisting of two Dutch and one Russian attorneys

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. The Public Prosecution Service of the Netherlands has filed indictments against four suspects in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash case in Ukraine and summoned them for investigative procedures, defense attorney for one of the defendants Yelena Kutyina told TASS.

"The Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service has indicted and summoned four suspects in the MH17 case. One of these defendants - Oleg Pulatov - will be defended by an international defense attorney group consisting of two Dutch and one Russian attorneys," she said.

Kutyina added that the group will work in full compliance with international law. "When defending [the client] we will consider this case with profound respect for feelings of the victims’ families as well as considering the basic principle of criminal proceedings - presumption of innocence. We are hoping that the Dutch court will be independent and objective when hearing the case," the attorney stressed.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers, citizens of 10 countries, and 15 crewmembers. In spite of the active armed conflict on the ground, Kiev did not close its airspace over the Donbass region to international passenger flights. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash is made up of representatives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. Russian officials have repeatedly expressed doubts and distrust of the results of its work, pointed to the groundless nature of arguments the accusations are based on and unwillingness to use Russian conclusion in the course of the investigation.

On May 24, the experts published a provisional report, claiming that the missile system that was used to down Flight MH17 could have been transferred from Russia and be a part of the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade near Kursk. Moscow rejects the JIT accusations. Particularly, the Russian Defense Ministry said that no Russian army missile system had ever crossed the Ukrainian border. Moreover, the defense ministry’s representatives reported that they had identified the missile that was launched to down the Boeing and established that it was transferred over to the Ukrainian troops back in 1986 and had never returned to Russia since.

In June, the JIT said it had identified four persons suspected of being involved the MH17 crash. They are three Russian nationals Igor Girkin, also known under the nickname of Strelkov, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and a Ukrainian national, Leonid Kharchenko. The trial is scheduled to begin on March 9, 2020.