‘Strong Signs’ Putin approved delivery of missiles that downed flight MH17



Vladimir Putin likely chose to personally authorize the decision to deliver the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, killing 298 people, international investigators said on Wednesday.

But there was insufficient evidence of Putin’s involvement to result in a criminal conviction, and the investigation would end with no further prosecution.

Prosecutors said a wiretapped phone call between Russian officials proved that Putin’s approval was required before a rebel request for the missile would be granted.

“There are strong indications that the Russian President decided to hand over the Buk TELAR to the DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) separatists,” said the joint six-country investigation team investigating the crash.

Piet Ploeg runs a foundation representing victims who lost his brother, sister-in-law and nephew on MH17. He said he was disappointed the investigation was closed but glad prosecutors pointed the finger at Putin.

He said. “We wanted to know who is ultimately responsible and that’s clear.”



Investigators also replayed a 2017 conversation between Putin and the Russian-appointed chief administrator of Ukraine’s Luhansk province, in which they discussed the military situation and a prisoner swap.

Prosecutors said they could not identify the specific soldiers responsible for firing the missile system, which originated from Russia’s 53rd Brigade in Kursk.

“The investigations have now reached their limit,” said prosecutor Digna van Boetzelaer in The Hague. “The findings are not sufficient to pursue new suspects.”

Ukrainian forces were fighting Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, when the plane was shot down. Ten Britons killed in Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur plane crash

MH17 - Antonio Bronic/Reuters

MH17 – Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Moscow, which illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, has denied any involvement in the downing of the civilian plane and fighting in Donetsk.

In November, a Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader of murder for orchestrating Russia’s BUK missile system that shot down the plane.

The three men, who were tried in absentia, remain at large.

The court also ruled that as of May 2014, Russia had “overall control” over the separatists in Donetsk.

Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and in September said it had annexed Donetsk and three other Ukrainian provinces.


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