An international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Wednesday reported a “strong indication” that Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to supply the missile which downed flight MH17 in 2014. The JIT, formed in 2014 by the Netherlands, Australia, Ukraine, Malaysia and Belgium, found that the Buk TELAR missile that collided with flight MH17 was provided by the Russian Federation during armed conflict between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army.
Passenger flight MH17 was travelling over eastern Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July 2014 when it was struck, resulting in the death of 298 people. Of those on board, nearly 200 were Dutch, and others were from Australia, the UK, Malaysia and Belgium.
The report found that the Presidential Executive Office in Moscow, a body directly linked to the Russian president, approved the provision of resources to the Russian-occupied Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Russian authorities have denied any involvement in conflict across eastern Ukraine at the time. However, a judgment of the Hague District Court in November found that the “funding, men, training, weapons and goods were all provided to the DPR by the Russian Federation.” The court found three men guilty of murder and sentenced two to life sentences for their involvement in crash.
Head of the Netherlands National Criminal Investigation Department Andy Kraag confirmed that without sufficient evidence of the incident, no further prosecutions are being initiated. He said:
The JIT’s investigation has now reached its limits. All relevant and available telecom data, radar and satellite data has now been analysed. Many witness calls have been made, countless witnesses have been heard, hundreds of intercepted conversations have been analysed. The JIT has investigated everything it can without the cooperation of the Russian authorities and without jeopardising people’s safety. Any further evidence must be sought in the Russian Federation.
The investigation noted that Ukrainian witnesses face “major security risks” if they speak out about the conflict.