MH17: Bellingcat podcast exploring crashed passenger jet
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The Russian Foreign Ministry has slammed the Hague District Court for announcing a “politically motivated” verdict on the MH17 case. The rebuke came after Hague District Court found Russian citizens Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko guilty of the MH17 plane crash.
The verdict comes more than eight years after the Boeing 777 was blown out of the sky over Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.
The crash on July 17, 2014, happened amid a conflict between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces. Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said MH17 was brought down by a Buk missile.
European News Agency NEXTA confirmed the development and tweeted: “The Russian Foreign Ministry described the verdict of the Hague district court in the MH17 case as politically motivated.”
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement: “We deeply regret that the Hague District Court neglected the principles of impartial justice for the sake of the current political environment.”
After the verdict, Moscow suggested the court has damaged the reputation of the entire Dutch judicial system.
The statement further read: “Both the course and the results of the proceedings indicate that it was based on a political order for corroborating the version, promoted by the Hague and its associates in the joint investigation team, about Russia’s involvement in the tragedy.”
Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis opened Thursday’s hearing and said “the court takes the view that the MH17 was brought down by a Buk missile” launched from an agricultural field in eastern Ukraine.
The Hague District Court, sitting at a high-security courtroom at Schiphol Airport, is passing judgment against a backdrop of global geopolitical upheaval caused by Russia’s full-blown invasion of Ukraine in February and the nearly nine-month war it triggered.
Hundreds of family members of people killed traveled to the court to hear the verdict, bringing them back to the airport their loved ones left on the fateful day MH17 was shot down.
Outside the court, planes could be heard taking off and landing nearby on a cold, gray day.
The Dutch-led international Joint Investigation Team (JIT), said that the aircraft was shot by a Russian-made Buk missile originating from a military brigade stationed in the city of Kursk.
Moscow said that the JIT allegations of Russia’s links to the crash were groundless, alleging that the investigation was biased and one-sided.
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Meanwhile, the United States welcomes today’s decision on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement: “The decision by the District Court of The Hague is an important moment in ongoing efforts to deliver justice for the 298 individuals who lost their lives on July 17, 2014.
“Today’s decision is the result of sustained work by a Joint Investigation Team comprised of authorities from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine, and reflects the Netherlands’ firm commitment to establish the truth and pursue accountability in this case.”
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