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20.06.2019 Europe

Arrest warrants issued for Ukraine plane attack suspects

REUTERS/Eva Plevier
JUN 20, 2019 EUROPE

Dutch investigators have announced they are issuing arrest warrants for four suspects   three Russians, one Ukranian -- wanted in connection with the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine in July 2014 killing all on board.

"Today we will send out international arrest warrants for the first suspects that we will prosecute. They will also be placed on national and international wanted lists," said Wilbert Paulissen, chief constable of the Netherlands National Police at a press conference.

Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko will be charged for downing the Boeing 777 passenger plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board were killed.

Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke specified that they were the "four who will be held accountable for bringing the deadly weapon, the BUK Telar, into eastern Ukraine".

Investigators said that the BUK anti-aircraft missile had come from the 53rd Russian military brigade based in Kursk, Russia.

Relatives of those killed said they had been told the trial would begin in the Netherlands in March 2020. The investigators said they “don't think there is a big chance” that suspects will appear on trial in the Netherlands, and that the four would likely be tried in absentia.

Russia does not allow its nationals to be sent to foreign countries for prosecution, and the sole Ukranian, Kharchenko, is not in custody, nor do investigators know of his whereabouts.