MH17 plane crash: Investigators 'expected to name four suspects'

  19 June 2019    Read: 873
MH17 plane crash: Investigators

Investigators probing the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine in which 298 people died in 2014 are expected to name suspects, AzVision.az reports citing BBC News.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) will present new evidence and announce charges for the first time.

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

Investigators blame Russian-backed separatists who they say targeted the plane with a Russian-made missile.

The Boeing 777 crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, at the height of the conflict between government troops and separatists.

Russia has denied any involvement and has maintained the missile was fired from Ukrainian-held territory.

Dutch investigators will hold a press conference at 13:00 local time (11:00 GMT) on Wednesday after briefing relatives of victims.

Kateryna Zelenko, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's foreign ministry, told the Unian news agency on Tuesday that "as early as tomorrow the world will hear the names of the first four people suspected of involvement".

Ms Zelenko said Dutch prosecutors would then file the case in a Netherlands court.

"The guilt of the four suspects must be proved first and foremost in court," the spokeswoman added.

MH17 left Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport at 10:15 GMT on 17 July 2014 and was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia the following day.

About four hours after take-off, the plane lost contact with air traffic control about 50km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border.

The plane crashed in the Donetsk area, in territory controlled by separatists. Parts of the wreckage were found distributed over an area of about 50 sq km.

In October 2015 the Dutch Safety Board concluded the plane had been hit by a Buk missile, causing it to break apart in mid-air.

In 2016, the JIT - which includes officials from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - reached a similar conclusion.

The Dutch-led team concluded in May 2018 that the missile system belonged to the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk. It produced evidence it said proved how the missile system reached Ukraine.

A total of 283 passengers, including 80 children, and 15 crew members were killed on the flight.

Delays and difficulties in the recovery of victims' remains in the crash aftermath prompted widespread international criticism.


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