MH17-investigation requests Russian military to share information

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that conducts the criminal investigation into the downing of flight Malaysia Airlines MH17 over eastern Ukraine, releases a new appeal for information.

The appeal is made on behalf of the continuing investigation and is addressed in particular to the citizens of the Russian city of Kursk. According to the JIT the Buk-TELAR that downed the plane was delivered from Kursk. All 298 people on board the passenger airliner were killed in that crash on 17 July 2014.

The Dutch police, who coordinate this action, write in a letter addressed to the citizens of Kursk that the investigation into the crew members and the decision-making process of the deployment of the Buk-TELAR has reached an advanced stage, but is not yet finalised. Russian military who possess more information such as photos, videos, emails and official documents, are invited to share this information with the JIT.   

The Dutch police also released two video’s addressed to a broader public, in which a Dutch retired military officer and the parents of one of the victims - Australians who have Soviet heritage - explain how important it is for them to get answers to their questions.

Vera Oreshkin, who lost her son Victor (29 years of age) in the crash, says in the video:

This tragedy should not have happened, and it must never happen again. We appeal to everybody who knows something about it, please tell it to those who need to know it.”

Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Marseille, who has often worked with Russian military, says that he hopes that his Russian colleagues will provide answers:

“It is very important for the families of the 298 innocent victims of the crash of flight MH17 to finally hear the truth. (….) It is essential for the future of our countries to bring the investigation to an end successfully, and finally close this sad chapter in our common history.”

The court proceedings against 4 defendants started in the Netherlands in March 2020. According to the Netherlands Public Prosecution Office, they are responsible for obtaining the missile system, a Buk-TELAR, to be used in their armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as for the downing of flight MH17 with this missile system on 17 July 2014. The new call for information is not made on behalf of the criminal case against these suspects, but for the continuing investigation. The continuing investigation is focused on the following questions:

Who decided to deploy this missile system in Ukraine, and who were part of its crew? According to the JIT the Buk-TELAR was delivered by the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade from Kursk, and therefore the answers are sought in that area.

With this call the JIT hopes to obtain the missing information in order to deliver the whole picture of this tragedy, so that the families of the victims will finally find peace knowing the truth about what really happened.

Andy Kraag, head of the National Criminal Investigation Department of the Dutch police:

“We want to know who were part of the crew, what was their order and who gave them that order. We also want to know who decided to deploy this missile system in Ukraine. And first and foremost we want to know why the passenger airliner was downed. How could it happen that the plane with 298 innocent civilians on board was shot down? We can only answer these questions with full confidence when the persons involved provide clarity in this matter.”

Next week, on Monday 6 September, the court proceedings in the MH17-case against the 4 defendants will continue. Families of the victims will then exercise their right to speak before the court.