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MH17: Four charged with shooting down plane over Ukraine

An investigator inspects the wreckage of flight MH17

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An investigator inspects the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

For the first time since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in July 2014, prosecutors have announced charges against suspects in the case.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian have been charged with transporting a missile into the area and with murdering 298 passengers and crew.

Passenger flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over conflict-hit Ukraine.

A court case will begin in the Netherlands on 9 March 2020.

International arrest warrants have been issued for the four men.

The Dutch-led joint investigation team (JIT) named the men as Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov from Russia, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko of involvement.

The JIT, which seeks to try the suspects under Dutch law, previously said it had a “long list” of persons of interest and appealed again for witnesses as the investigation continues.

Who are the four suspects?

Igor Girkin (also known as Strelkov) is a former colonel of the FSB – Russia’s intelligence service, prosecutors say. He was given the minister of defence title in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. He is believed to be the highest military officer in the area who was in direct contact with the Russian Federation. In a statement Mr Girkin said: “I can only say that militia did not shoot down the Boeing.”

Sergei Dubinskiy (known as Khmuriy), who was employed by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, was a deputy of Mr Girkin and also in regular contact with Russia, according to prosecutors.

Oleg Pulatov, known as Giurza, is a former soldier of the Spetznaz GRU – the special forces of Russia military intelligence – and was deputy head of the intelligence service in Donetsk, the JIT said.

Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko has no military background but led a combat unit as a commander in Eastern Ukraine, prosecutors said.

MH17: Four charged with shooting down plane over Ukraine

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