The Netherlands continues the trial of the crash of the civilian Boeing 777 airliner in the skies over Ukraine in 2014. During the hearing in the District Court of The Hague, the prosecution provided additional information to the case file.
Deutsche Welle tells about the details of yesterday’s court session, June 17.
On Thursday, June 17, The Hague District Court continued hearings on the Malaysian Airlines liner crash, and the prosecution completed the presentation of evidence. As reported by the NOS agency, the judges pay special attention to telephone conversations and the data of cellular operators, allowing to establish the whereabouts of those who participated in the transportation of the Buk air defense missile system and used it.
An important question is the proposed launch site of the rocket. The prosecutor’s office provided additional evidence that indicated that the missile launch site was between the villages of Snezhnoye and Pervomayskoye in eastern Ukraine, in an area controlled by the self-proclaimed DPR.
Prosecutor Manon Ridderbex provided satellite imagery confirming the testimony of earlier witnesses: part of the field south of Snezhnoye, where a burnt patch of grass is visible. The data refutes the version of the Almaz-Antey concern, which claims that the missile was fired from the village of Zaroshchenskoye, controlled by Kiev.
A video from a car recorder was also considered, showing the movement of a Volvo tractor with a Buk along Avtotransportnaya Street in Makeevka. The investigation verified the images of the movement of the tractor, comparing them with satellite images, which were taken on July 17 by the European Space Agency, and concluded that the photograph from the recorder, taken at about the same time, is genuine. Almost all landmarks and even the shadow from the trees coincide. The entire path of the Buk air defense missile system from Donetsk to Snezhnoye is documented by numerous testimonies, which were presented to the court.
There are four defendants in the case: former “DPR Minister of Defense” Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Major General Sergei Dubinsky (Khmury), Colonel Oleg Pulatov (Gyurza) and Leonid Kharchenko (Krot). Telephone conversations with their participation were carefully studied by the court, including about Buk. Interceptions of telephone conversations between the separatists were demonstrated on the morning of July 17, when the Buk was being transported. Dubinsky demanded that Kharchenko and Pulatov provide “reserve and protection for this little thing” after it arrived at the scene. The audio recordings repeatedly mention “Buk”, which, according to the investigation, on the night of July 17, arrived across the Russian border to the territory controlled by the DPR.
In the first minutes and hours after the fall of Boeing, the situation was incomprehensible. Leonid Kharchenko, for example, reports to his immediate superior, Oleg Pulatov, that the “drying” (Su-25) was shot down. As you understand what is happening, the information changes, another version arises. Kharchenko assures the chief, and the superior Sergei Dubinsky, that there were two planes in the sky: a Ukrainian Su-25 shot down a Boeing, and then a Buk shot down a military plane of the Ukrainian Air Force. Dubinsky, in turn, reports to Igor Girkin (literally): “Drying” fell on Boeing, and “Drying” was done by our “Buk” e *** “.
The prosecutor’s office claims, and this can be considered an already established fact, that there were no Ukrainian military aircraft in the area of the MH17 crash. This is indicated by the radar data and the absence of any wreckage from other aircraft at the scene of the tragedy. According to the accused, if the Buk was mentioned in the conversations, it was solely for the purpose of “misinforming” the enemy. Pulatov repeated several times that the Buk air defense missile system was not needed by the separatists, since, they say, they had other air defense systems, in particular, MANPADS and the Strela-10 complex. However, the Dutch prosecutor’s office strongly doubts the sincerity of Pulatov’s testimony.
During yesterday’s court session, the role of Strelkov (Girkin) was discussed in detail, the prosecutor’s office considers it significant. Judging by the intercepted conversations, he actively participated in the “ordering” and transportation of the Buk.
On Thursday, June 24, the last court session before the summer holidays will take place, where Pulatov’s defense will speak. In September, the court will resume hearings, and the next of kin of the dead passengers on the fatal flight will be heard. The prosecutor’s office intends to announce the indictment in November.