SCHIPHOL /The Netherlands/, March 9. /TASS/. The suspects in the case of the MH17 crash in Ukraine in 2014 may face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service Digna van Boetzelaer said on Monday.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has brought charges against four suspects in the case. They have been charged with bringing a missile into the area, downing the MH17 flight and killing 298 passengers and crew.
The Boeing-777 passenger plane operated by Malaysian Airlines crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. A total of 298 people, citizens of 10 countries, were killed in the crash. The parties to the armed conflict in Donbass traded blame over the tragedy.
Despite active combat actions, Kiev did not close airspace over Donbass for international passenger flights. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was set up to investigate the tragedy, consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
In June 2019, the JIT said it had identified four individuals suspected of being involved in 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 began in the Netherlands on March 9. A team of two Dutch and one Russian attorneys represents Oleg Pulatov’s interests. The other three suspects are tried in absentia.
Russia’s authorities have repeatedly voiced doubt over the JIT’s findings, pointing to the lack of evidence and its reluctance to take into account Moscow’s conclusions made during the investigation.