Russia must ensure that MH17 downing culprits face justice – U.S.

Russia must ensure that MH17 downing culprits face justice – U.S.

Ukrinform
Russia needs to ensure that those indicted in the MH17 downing case, who are currently in Russia or territories under Kremlin control, are brought to justice.

That’s according to Courtney Austrian, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Mission to the OSCE, who addressed the organization’s Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, July 22, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“We too call on Russia to account for its role and cooperate fully with the investigation. Russia needs to ensure that the indicted individuals currently in Russia or territories under its control face justice.  Russia and its proxies cannot escape the fact that a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile fired from eastern Ukraine was the cause of the crash of MH17,” the statement reads.

The diplomat added that Russia’s refusal to cooperate with international efforts, including those of Australia and the Netherlands, to establish accountability thus far “illustrates its flagrant disregard for international law.”

Austrian recalled that in the ongoing criminal trial, four individuals were indicted for the MH17 downing, all of whom were part of Russia-led forces, while “Russia has never acknowledged these facts.”

As Ukrinform reported earlier, during a Permanent Council meeting on Thursday, the European Union called on Russia to fully cooperate in efforts to bring MH17 downing perpetrators to justice, including through tripartite talks between Australia, the Netherlands, and Russia.

Read also: Seventh anniversary of MH17 tragedy: In anticipation of justice

Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, Yevhen Tsymbaliuk, also said Russia should acknowledge its responsibility for the downing of Flight MH17 in July 2014.

Background

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over occupied area of Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. All of them died. The international Joint Investigation Team reported that the plane had been shot down from a Buk missile system that belonged to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.

On June 19, 2019, the JIT named four suspects believed to be involved in the transportation and combat use of the Buk missile system, from which MH17 flight had been downed. Three of them are Russians: Igor Girkin (Strelkov), former colonel in Russia's FSB intelligence service and former so-called "defense minister" of the self-styled "Donetsk People's Republic"; Sergey Dubinskiy, general (at the time of downing – colonel) of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and head of the self-proclaimed "Main Intelligence Directorate of the Donetsk People’s Republic"; Oleg Pulatov, lieutenant colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The fourth suspect is Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian civilian, who fought on the side of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic."

Read also: Ukraine’s Prosecutor General discusses MH17 case with Dutch ambassador

In March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the consideration of the case over the downing of Flight MH17.

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