Dutch investigator Digna van Boetzelaer speaks on February 8, 2023 at a press conference in The Hague about the investigation into the downing of the MH17 flight over the separatist territory in the east of Ukraine, which claimed 298 lives in 2014.
The Hague – An international team has suspended its investigation into the downing of flight MH17 over separatist territory in eastern Ukraine, which claimed 298 lives in 2014. According to the AP agency, investigators informed about this today at a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands. They said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute other individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last November, a Dutch court sentenced two Russians and one Ukrainian separatist to life imprisonment in absentia for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner.
Photo gallery: MH17 crash in Ukraine
Dutch investigator Digna van Boetzelaer said today that the investigation had reached its limit. The investigators may have “strong indications” that Russian President Putin decided to supply the Buk missile system to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. It was he who shot down the plane heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. But the evidence is insufficient to initiate criminal prosecution. The same is the case with other suspects.
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte today called the fact that the investigation ended without further prosecution a “bitter disappointment”. “We will continue to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its role in this tragedy,” he stressed in a statement.
In response, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said that Kyiv would still try to use all existing legal mechanisms to hold Putin responsible for the downing of the plane.
Last year, a Dutch court concluded that the Malaysia Airlines plane was a Russian-made missile fired from a field in eastern Ukraine, which at the time was controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Russia, which denies any involvement in the tragedy, called the verdict a political order. It refused to participate in the accident investigation.
Specifically, the judges found the Russians – Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky – as well as the Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko guilty of helping to transport and install the launch system, although it they weren't the ones who fired the rocket. Convicts remain on the run and are unlikely to serve their sentences. They are all believed to be in Russia, which does not want to extradite them.
The investigative team was made up of experts from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine. The Netherlands accounted for the most – 196 – victims of accidents.