International investigators yesterday charged four people with murder over the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 above rebel-held eastern Ukraine in which 298 people were killed.
The Dutch-led team said it was going to prosecute Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko over the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane.
Relatives of the victims said they had been told the trial of the men for murder would start in March 2020, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as Russia does not extradite its nationals for prosecution.
Russia has vehemently denied all involvement in the downing of MH17, while Girkin yesterday said Ukrainian separatists were also not implicated.
“Today we will send out international arrest warrants for the first suspects that we will prosecute. They will also be placed on national and international wanted lists,” Wilbert Paulissen, chief constable of the Netherlands National Police, told a press conference.
Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said they were the “four who will be held accountable for bringing the deadly weapon, the BUK Telar, into eastern Ukraine.”
The same investigation team said in May 2018 that the BUK anti-aircraft missile which hit the Boeing 777 had originated from the 53rd Russian military brigade based in the southwestern city of Kursk.