MIAMI – A Dutch court rejected to investigate alternative scenarios for the crash of the Malaysia Airlines (MH) flight 17 over Eastern Ukraine that killed 298 people on board, Radio Free Europe reported on November 25.
As stated in the report, the court turned down “a defense request for more time to investigate alternative explanations” for the 2014 crash, as prosecutors argued that “that the aircraft was shot down by separatist fighters who had acquired it from a Russian military base on the border between the two countries.”
MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian pro-Russia rebels while flying over Ukraine’s airspace, on its way to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) from Amsterdam (AMS). A Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile was the weapon that brought down the plane, with most of the victims being Dutch nationals.
Russia Denies Participation in the Crash
The four suspects of the crash – Russians Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko – “are being tried in absentia by court in The Hague for involvement in the tragedy,” the report said. Pulatov is the only suspect that has attorney representation in court.
Russia, per the report, “has denied any involvement in the conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine and has offered several possible theories about how MH17 was blown out of the sky, including that it was shot down by a Ukrainian Air Force jet or by Ukrainian ground forces using a Buk system.”
The crash caused a deepening of tensions between Russia and Western countries over the takeover of Crimea and support for the militants in their fight against Kyiv’s forces after pro-European protests ousted Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from office.
Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said on November 25 that the defense “had not provided a clear alternative scenario to investigate.” He also added that “the court would like to hear from Pulatov in person, and would not submit written questions to him, as his lawyers had requested,” as well as the court “would also like to hear from the other suspects, who have never cooperated.”
The case is adjourned until February 1, 2021.
Featured image: Wiki Commons.