At the Schiphol Judicial Complex in the Netherlands, where the MH17 case is being heard, Dutch prosecutors, presenting the indictment, said that the investigation revealed traces of no other weapon than the Buk missile system that could destroy Flight MH17.
“No traces were found to indicate that a weapon other than the Buk was used. Thus, we came to the conclusion that on July 17, 2014, the plane of Flight MH17 was shot down by a Buk missile system,” said Dutch prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks, an Ukrinform correspondent in The Hague reports.
She noted that this conclusion was confirmed by many pieces of evidence, in particular, the results of the examination of the found fragments and elements, intercepted telephone conversations of the defendants, testimony of witnesses, photos and videos of Buk system.
The route of Buk system transportation was also shown in court. In particular, in the video made on the morning of July 18, 2014, the system missing one missile was spotted near the militant-controlled Luhansk. After that, Buk was transported back to Russia.
Thus, Buk was returned to Russia by order of Girkin, with the participation of Dubinskiy, Kharchenko, and Pulatov.
The Dutch prosecutor also noted that the investigation managed to establish that the Buk system belonged to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.
In particular, this is evidenced by publications on social media sites made by the mother of one of the fighters. She wrote that her son was sent to Rostov. In turn, her son posted a photo of himself wearing a uniform with the emblem of the 53rd Brigade in July 2014. The publications of his friends were also studied, and they also posted photos of their relocations.
“The prosecution concluded that the Buk system filmed in Ukraine on July 17 and 18, 2014 is the same one that left Kursk in July as part of a column of the 53rd Brigade,” the prosecutor said.
She stressed that the unique details and marks on the system allowed to establish that the Buk, spotted in Ukraine and Russia, is one and the same system.
As reported, the indictment in the MH17 case is being presented for the second day.
The prosecution said that 12 witnesses saw a trail in the sky, 11 heard an explosion, said they heard equipment or saw the Buk system.
According to the Dutch prosecutor, there is a witness who saw Buk arrive with four soldiers in special protective helmets. The investigation revealed that it is the Buk crew that wears helmets.
The pictures of fragments of a missile that, according to investigators, downed the plane, as well as photos of unique butterfly-shaped fragments inside the missiles, were presented in the courtroom. Having examined the MH17 wreckage and fragments of the missile, the experts concluded that the passenger plane was shot down by a 9M38M1 missile fired from the Buk air defense missile system.
The court hearings are scheduled for December 20, 21, and 22.
As reported, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over occupied area of Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. All of them died. The international Joint Investigation Team reported that the plane had been shot down from a Buk missile system that belonged to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.
On June 19, 2019, the JIT named four suspects believed to be involved in the transportation and combat use of the Buk missile system, from which MH17 flight had been downed. Three of them are Russians: Igor Girkin (Strelkov), former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence service and former so-called defense minister of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”; Sergey Dubinskiy, general (at the time of downing – colonel) of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and head of the so-called “Main Intelligence Directorate of the Donetsk People’s Republic”; Oleg Pulatov, lieutenant colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The fourth suspect is Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian civilian, who fought on the side of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.
In March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the consideration of the case over the downing of Flight MH17.