An international team of investigators reported finding “strong indications” on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had given the go-ahead for providing heavy anti-aircraft weapons to Ukrainian separatists who, in 2014, used a Russian missile to bring down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
The long-running investigation into the shooting down of the Boeing 777 carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was postponed by the Joint Investigation Team, who said they lacked sufficient evidence to bring any additional charges.
Russia has consistently denied any role in the July 17, 2014, downing of the airplane over eastern Ukraine and has declined to assist the international probe.
There are “strong indications” that the Russian president decided to give” a Buk missile system to Ukrainian insurgents, Dutch prosecutors stated in their summary of probe results. A Buk system brought down MH17.
Without Russian participation, according to Dutch prosecutor Digna van Boetzelaer, “the probe has already reached its limit.” All potential leads have been used up.
The declaration comes almost three months after a Dutch court found two Russians and a rebel from Ukraine guilty of downing the airliner. The judge cleared one Russian on all charges.
The three people found guilty of several murders did not show up for the trial, and it is unknown when they will begin serving their sentences.
The verdicts and the court’s judgment that a Russian military base produced the surface-to-air Buk missile were viewed as unmistakable proof that Moscow was involved in the catastrophe.
Russia has consistently denied being involved. In November, the Russian Foreign Ministry charged the court with caving into political, legal, and media pressure from the Netherlands.
According to the November convictions, the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, a rebel region of eastern Ukraine where the rocket was launched, was under general Russian control in 2014.
The 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian military, stationed in Kursk, provided the Buk missile system.
Experts from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium, and Ukraine make up the Joint Investigation Team.
The majority of casualties were Dutch. Investigations into the members of the missile system’s crew and the individuals who gave the go-ahead for its use in Ukraine have not stopped.
The Dutch and Ukrainian governments are suing Russia at the European Court of Human Rights over its suspected role in the downing of MH17 and the criminal trial held in the Netherlands.