Here Are The Four Men To Be Charged With Murder Over The Downing Of MH17
Nearly five years after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down from the sky, four suspects are set to be charged with murder.
On Wednesday, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) -- which includes Australia -- named four men who are accused of providing and firing the missile that took down the plane in July 2014.
MH17, which was on route to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from Amsterdam, was carrying at least 38 Australians when it was shot down from the sky over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
All 298 on board were killed.
Three Russians and one Ukrainian national have been identified as the "top" suspects in the case, National Police Chief of the Netherlands Wilbert Paulissen announced at a briefing in Utrecht at 9pm AEST.
Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko will face murder charges in a trial set to start in March 9, 2020 in the Netherlands.
However, the suspects are likely to be tried in absentia, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.
International arrest warrants for the four have been issued.
Girkin is a former Colonel of Russia's Federal Security Service, while Dubinsky and Pulatov worked for the Russian Military Intelligence Service.
Kharchenko is a former Ukranian commander.
There was a direction line of military command between the Ukrainian rebels and the Russian Federation, investigators said.
Peter Crozier, Assistant Commissioner at Australian Federal Police, said the joint investigation had been “one of the most complex criminal investigations ever to be conducted”.
Prosecutors have previously said the Buk missile that brought down the plane came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk.
Family members of the victims were briefed on the new information ahead of the press conference.
Asked if she expected the suspects to attend the trial, Silene Fredriksz, whose son Bryce was on the plane with his girlfriend Daisy, said: "No. No, I don't think so. But I don't care. I just want the truth, and this is the truth."
Moscow has always denied any involvement in the incident, and has previously said it does not trust the investigation.
“Russia was unable to take part in the investigation despite expressing an interest right from the start and trying to join it”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
The Russian government denies having lent any support to pro-Russia rebels fighting Ukrainian government troops and also denies any involvement in shooting down the plane.
Last year Russian President Vladimir Putin called MH17’s downing a “terrible tragedy” but said that Moscow was not to blame and that there are other explanations for what happened.
There were 38 Australians, one New Zealander, 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians and 12 Indonesians aboard MH17, as well as 10 British passengers.