Putin likely supplied the missile that downed flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, investigators say
Sinéad Baker – February 8, 2023
- Putin likely gave separatists the missile that hit flight MH17, investigators said on Wednesday.
- 298 people died when the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down in 2014.
- But prosecutors said they can’t pursue suspects due to the high bar of proof necessary.
Russian President Vladimir Putin likely supplied the missile system that shot down flight MH17 in July 2014, killing 298 people onboard, international investigators said on Wednesday.
The team has been investigating the crash since August 2014, and said in a statement that there are “strong indications” that the Russian president decided on supplying the missile system to separatists in Ukraine.
Investigators have previously said that the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down by a Buk missile brought from Russia to a field in Ukraine.
They said on Wednesday that the separatists had asked for longer-range anti-aircraft systems and that there is “concrete information” that the separatists’ request was presented to the Russian president, and that this request was granted.
But, they added, it’s not known whether their request explicitly mentioned the missile system that was later used to shoot down MH17.
Nor was it ultimately clear if Putin “deliberately assisted in the downing of MH17.”
Russia has always denied any involvement in the fate of the plane.
Investigators said on Wednesday that the evidence was not strong enough to formally accuse Putin.
“Although we speak of strong indications, the high bar of complete and conclusive evidence is not reached. Furthermore, the President enjoys immunity in his position as Head of State,” they said in the statement.
Prosecutors also said on Monday that they did not have enough evidence to pursue criminal proceedings against anyone else associated with the crash.
A Dutch court sentenced three men — Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko — to life in prison last November over the downing of the plane. But the men are still at large.
The plane, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was shot down over eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists had taken over parts of the country.