Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine
A Dutch court has convicted two Russians and a Ukrainian separatist of murder for their role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.
Russian nationals Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), and Sergey Dubinskiy, who was employed by Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU, were convicted along with Ukrainian separatist Leonid Kharchenko, who had no no military background but reportedly led a combat unit in Donetsk in July 2014.
A fourth suspect, Russian national Oleg Pulatov, a former Russian Spetsnaz-GRU special forces soldier, was acquitted.
The plane was flying over an area at the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces – the precursor to the current war.
The men refused to attend the trial and were tried in absentia at the Schiphol court complex in Badhoevedorp, the Netherlands.
Hendrik Steenhuis, the presiding judge, cited the wealth of evidence in the court’s decision and ruled out any other explanation for the incident.
The court found that a Russian Buk missile was used to bring down the plane and that Moscow was in control of the separatists at the time of the attack.
The court concluded that the launch of the missile was carried out deliberately, citing that firing a Buk missile involves a complex process, but found that the operators probably thought they were targeting a military aircraft rather than an aircraft line.
Steenhuis said those operating the Buk system would have been aware of the missile’s destructive power and that the consequences of the attack would have been « clear », namely the downing of any aircraft and the death of all those on board.
Evidence reviewed by the court included fragments of a Buk missile found embedded in the plane and the bodies of some of the victims, as well as videos and images showing a Buk system being moved in eastern Ukraine from Russia, then back to Russian territory after the plane crash.
Read CNN’s full report here.