Investigators link MH17 plane crash to Russian officials


DW | Published: November 14, 2019


Dutch investigators say they have intercepted telephone calls that implicate the Russian government in the MH17 downing over Ukraine in 2014.

A Dutch-led investigation has publicly shared evidence that links the Russian government to the militant group responsible for the the downing of Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.

In transcripts from intercepted telephone calls released by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Thursday, high-ranking Russian officials speak with leaders of the militant group “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) who shot down the commercial aircraft, killing all 298 passengers.

Three calls intercepted between June and July 2014 show separatist group leaders Igor Girkin and Alexander Borodai speaking with government contact points including Russian-appointed Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov and Vladislav Surkov, a high-ranking Russian government official.

Girkin is one of the four suspects currently being prosecuted for their involvement in downing the aircraft.

Close ties

“Russian influence on the DPR went further than military support,” read a statement from Dutch investigation leader Andy Kraag. “Ties between Russian officials and DPR leaders appear to have been much closer.”

The transcripts show Girkin requesting Russian military support, and Aksyonov confirming that arrangements are being made.

“The indication of close ties between Russian government officials and leaders of the DPR raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment of the Buk-Telar (missile), which brought down flight MH17 on 17 July, 2014,” read Kraag’s statement.

By publishing the report, investigators hope to identify new witnesses that can shed light on questions that remain unanswered.

More information to follow…

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