Putin Seemingly Accredited Missile System Used to Down Flight MH17, Inquiry Says


There are “robust indications” that President Vladimir V. Putin determined to produce the antiaircraft missile system that Russia-backed separatists used to shoot down a Malaysia Airways jet above japanese Ukraine in 2014, a Dutch-led worldwide staff discovered.

However the staff mentioned on Wednesday that it had suspended its prison investigation due to inadequate proof and immunity privileges that forestall new prosecutions within the crash of Flight MH17, which killed all 298 individuals aboard.

The investigators famous that no proof means that Mr. Putin ordered that the plane be shot down and that he was, in any case, protected against prosecution below Dutch regulation as a result of he enjoys immunity as a head of state.

“The investigation has now reached its limits,” Dutch prosecutor Digna van Boetzelaer mentioned at a information convention. “All leads have been exhausted.”

The announcement got here almost three months after a Dutch courtroom convicted three males with ties to the Russian safety providers for his or her roles in capturing down the airplane whereas they have been a part of separatist forces in japanese Ukraine.

The worldwide staff of investigators continued to look into who was answerable for offering the weapons. On Wednesday, investigators introduced new proof, together with cellphone intercepts that confirmed ties between the Russian army and the separatists, and recommended that supply of the missile system was delayed as a result of Mr. Putin had been collaborating in a World Conflict II commemoration in France.

“He’s the one one who makes the choice, no one else,” the audio intercept mentioned. The intercept appeared to substantiate that the surface-to-air missile used to shoot down the airplane was trucked in from Russia on the request of the separatists.

Ms. van Boetzelaer mentioned that “secondhand info was obtained in regards to the doable involvement of three present or former officers” of the Russian army. However the investigation staff couldn’t set up that with certainty, nor may it specify who gave the order to separatist forces to fireplace the missile.

The findings “don’t present adequate floor for prosecution,” Ms. van Boetzelaer mentioned, “as a result of the proof that has been gathered just isn’t robust sufficient to be lawful and convincing.”

She added that Russian army members “might be able to declare combatant immunity,” a rule in worldwide regulation that bars the prosecution of members of the armed forces of a state, apart from battle crimes.

Russia-backed separatists invaded japanese Ukraine in 2014, starting a long-simmering battle that predated Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. The crash of MH17 in July 2014 was by far the largest lack of civilian life within the battle as much as that time. Most of the victims have been Dutch; the flight additionally carried passengers from Australia, Britain, Malaysia and different nations.

Many victims’ households have drawn a direct connection between the crash and the present battle, suggesting that the West’s failure to strongly punish Moscow in 2014 helped allow its full-scale invasion.

The Kremlin didn’t instantly reply to the assertion by investigators. In November, Russia’s International Ministry referred to as the trial by which the three males have been convicted politically motivated.

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