On 2nd Anniversary of MH17, Still Waiting for Dutch Prosecutors’ Report, But More Evidence of Kremlin’s Complicity

July 17, 2016
A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) Photograph: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

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On 2nd Anniversary of MH17, Still Waiting for Dutch Prosecutors’ Report, But More Evidence of Kremlin’s Complicity

Today is the second anniversary of the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 by Russian-backed militants in southeastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.
As we have reported extensively in the past, there is little doubt that the plane was shot down by a Buk delivered by Russia manned by Russian-backed militants. Efforts to counter these facts have been easily refuted.
In addition to the analysis of social media placing a Buk from Russia in separatist-held territory, we have found admissions in the pro-Kremlin media that the militants were responsible for downing the plane, and there is evidence that Col. Igor Strelkov, at that time the defense minister of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” posted on his private forum about the shooting down of a plane believed at the time to be a Ukrainian military transport aircraft, which was then reposted in a Vkontakte group that he approved.
Bellingcat, a group analyzing social media from the region, has done extensive work in tracking the Buk’s movement from Russia to southeastern Ukraine and has added to its findings on this anniversary.
The victims’ families are still suffering and struggling to cope with the disaster. The Malaysia Airlines has struck a deal to settle damages.
An aviation lawyer, Jerry Skinner, who is handling the cases of 33 relatives of victims of MH17, discovered that his office in Cincinatti had been ransacked last winter and believes that it is retaliation by Russia’s foreign intelligence agency after he gave the Russian Embassy notice of his lawsuit.
Now his suit has been accepted at the European Court of Human Rights.
Five ambassadors at the UN (from Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Malaysia) issued statements that they would take all possible measures to punish those responsible for bringing down MH17, but the statement was not an official UN statement or related to the UN Security Council, so it was of limited value. Only Ukrainian media appeared to cover the statements which were not on the UN news site.

report last year by the Dutch Safety Board said the plane was downed by a Buk missile system and not an air-to-air missile, but did not pronounce on the perpetrator. Dutch prosecutors are expected to come out with a report later this year; they say they are still waiting for Russia to provide information.

Dutch prosecutors have released some findings regarding MH17, but their final reports is not expected to come out until the fall.

Russian propagandists and Putin supporters have worked overtime to attempt to debunk the overwhelming evidence showing Russia’s complicity in the downing of MH17.

But the evidence is overwhelming, from the Russian GRU officer’s voice recognized on a tape by Ukrainian military, to Bellingcat’s research, adding to the Kremlin’s responsibility for the grim toll of deaths and injuries in Ukraine. The UN reports that now more than 9,300 civilians have been killed since January 2014, when Crimea was forcibly annexed, after which Russian-backed militants took over at gunpoint administrative buildings in towns in the Donbass.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick