‘Russia Blamed for Missile That Downed MH17 Plane Killing Hundreds’
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
AMSTERDAM/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – An international investigation team says there are “strong indications” that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of the missile to separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing hundreds of people.
But members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Netherlands said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute any more suspects, a move the Dutch government called disappointing.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, however, that the Netherlands would continue to hold Russia to account for the downing of the passenger plane.
Rutte stressed it was a “bitter disappointment” that the international investigation into the downing of MH17 had ended.
The JIT decision suspended an eight-and-a-half-year inquiry into one of the worst aviation terror tragedies on record. As a head of state, Putin also has immunity.
Russia has denied any involvement with the downing of the civilian airliner, which killed 298 passengers and crew, including 196 Dutch citizens.
ROLE IN TRAGEDY
“We will continue to call the Russian Federation to account for its role in this tragedy,” Rutte warned in a statement.
The announcement comes less than three months after a Dutch court convicted two Russians and a Ukrainian for murder over the disaster.
The three men – Russians Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko — did not appear for the trial and are unlikely ever to serve their life sentences.
Russia condemned last year’s court verdict convicting the three men as “scandalous” and politically motivated.
But the JIT – made up of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, and Ukraine – said, however, that the chain of command was clear.
Families of the victims were disappointed by the decision to halt the investigation. “We had hoped for more, but we didn’t count on it,” added the chairman of an MH17 foundation, Piet Ploeg. He lost his brother, sister-in-law, and nephew in the disaster.
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