December 4, 2022

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Russia-Ukraine war updates: UN announces grain deal extension

Russia-Ukraine war updates: UN announces grain deal extension

attributed to him…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

AMSTERDAM – A Dutch court will deliver its verdict on Thursday in the trial of four men linked to the Russian security services over… Downing a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014, during a Moscow-backed separatist uprising that presaged Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country this year.

With the defendants believed to be in Russian-controlled territory or in Russia itself, and unlikely to serve any sentence imposed on them, the trial promises only limited justice for the 298 people who were killed. The plane was on a scheduled Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down.

But the war in Ukraine gave the issue more importance. Supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine has been a major part of President Vladimir Putin pretext When he gave the order to invade the country in February of this year. The referee will be watched closely, not least because he can set an example possible prosecutions Russian crimes during the current war.

“I have always said that our family members are the first non-Ukrainian people who were victims of a war that began eight years ago,” said Pete Bloig, president of a foundation representing family members of the victims of the accident.

trial It opened more than two years ago As an attempt to assign responsibility for what seemed for a long time to be a crime with impunity. On July 17, 2014, an anti-aircraft missile provided by the Russian military to separatist forces shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, known as MH17, high over eastern Ukraine. Everyone on board was killed, and corpses and debris littered Ukrainian fields.

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The world reacted with anger, and Western countries sought to hold Russia accountable. the majority of victims They were Dutch, but the flight also carried passengers from Australia, Malaysia, Britain and several other countries.

Russia has repeatedly denied responsibility for the deaths, however Evidence that the plane was brought down by a Buk surface-to-air missile sent into eastern Ukraine from a Russian military base across the border, as well as intercepted calls and messages implicating Russian-backed separatists.

Instead, Moscow has produced a series of implausible counter-explanations and conspiracy theories that have mostly focused on blaming Ukraine and attacking the investigation’s legitimacy. Among them is the possibility of the CIA crashing a plane loaded with corpses into eastern Ukraine to destroy Moscow.

attributed to him…Photo by Peter DeJonge

Since Russia vetoed an attempt to set up a UN tribunal for the case, the trial has been held in a district criminal court on the outskirts of Amsterdam, near the sprawling Schiphol Airport.

Among the four suspects accused of murder Igor GirkinMr. Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor agency to the KGB at the time of the downing, was defense minister in a breakaway region, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, now controlled by the Russian military.

The other defendants are Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, both former GRU officers, and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian citizen who commanded a Russian-backed military unit. The prosecution demanded life imprisonment for each of them.

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But none of them were arrested or brought to court. They were tried in absentia.

Mr. Ploeg, Chairman MH17 Flight Disaster FoundationTheir absence, he said, made it difficult for the trial to bring clarity and transparency to the victims, and help them come to terms with what happened.

“Why?” “The question has not yet been answered,” said Mr. Ploig, who lost his brother, sister-in-law and their son in the downing of the plane. His brother is one of two MH17 victims whose bodies have not been found.

Mr Bloegg added that he was shocked by the Russian government’s “disrespect” for the victims in spreading lies about the incident, and said he hoped the court would recognize “the role of the Russian state in bringing down MH17.”

In addition to holding the domestic criminal case, Holland A Complaint against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights in July 2020 for her involvement in the accident.