Today a Dutch court will continue hearing testimony from relatives of the 298 victims of the 2014 Malaysian Airlines flight
Today a Dutch court will continue hearing testimony from relatives of the 298 victims of the 2014 Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 plane crash.
The plane was shot down over the eastern Ukraine on the way to Amsterdam from Kuala Lumpur. Four years later, noting the use of a Buk missile launcher system from Russia’s 53rd Aircraft Missile Brigade, a team of international investigators found militant separatists from Ukraine’s Donbas region responsible for the crash. Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov are standing trial for murder in absentia while Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko will attend in person.
With victim impact statements set to conclude on September 24th, a final ruling is not expected until late 2022. The four defendants are likely to be convicted, although conviction is unlikely to lead to their imprisonment, as the Kremlin has refused to permit their extradition from Russia. A ruling that holds the suspected perpetrators responsible could serve as a further basis for sanctions against Russia, at a time of growing animosity between the Kremlin and the European Union. Should the hearings lead to further sanctions, a likely response from Russia could see increased military drills in Belarus, already a source of mounting tensions with the EU.
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