Putin implicated in 2014 downing of Malaysia passenger jet that killed 298


Dutch prosecutors said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely personally signed off on a decision to supply long-range anti-aircraft missile systems to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine before he signed off on them. In July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down, killing all 298 passengers. and staff.

However, while prosecutors said they had documented “strong indications” of Putin’s personal role in the decision, they said their evidence was “not substantial enough” for a new prosecution.

In November, two former Russian state security officers and a Ukrainian separatist leader were convicted of murder in the case although they were never arrested or extradited. Dutch authorities are in charge of the investigation because the flight originated in Amsterdam.

A Dutch-led joint investigation team had previously determined that a Boeing 777 en route to Kuala Lumpur was hit by a Russian-supplied Buck surface-to-air missile on July 17, 2014, killing all passengers and crew.

At a news conference in The Hague on Wednesday, the joint investigation team said its conclusion about Putin’s personal role hinged on recorded telephone conversations in which Russian officials say the decision to provide military aid was made. Only the Russian president can.

“There is concrete evidence that a separatist petition was presented to the president, and the petition was approved,” the investigators said. system is mentioned or not.”

The team noted that despite strong indications, “a high level of complete and conclusive evidence has not been reached” and that Putin enjoys immunity from prosecution as head of state. Prosecutors said they had exhausted their leads, and no further criminal charges would be filed.

In its November ruling, a Dutch court found all three accused guilty of murder, although none of them are in custody. The fourth accused was acquitted. The verdict made a firm determination that Moscow accepted responsibility for the downing of the plane.

The Kremlin has long denied involvement in the downing of the jetliner and has refused to extradite defendants or cooperate with investigators.

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