MH17 investigators to publish new interim report on Thursday

Photo: NBAAI via Dutch Safety Board
Photo: NBAAI via Dutch Safety Board

The team investigating the downing of flight MH217 in 2014 will publish an interim report on Thursday as well as a renewed call for public assistance in tracking down the likely perpetrators, according to broadcaster NOS.

However, the interim report will not make any new claims about possible suspects, nor will it give any information about the result of earlier calls for public help, NOS said.

All 298 people on board flight MH17 were killed when it was struck by a missile on July 17, 2014, and crashed into fields in eastern Ukraine. Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were Dutch.

The JIT’s preliminary investigations concluded in 2016 that the plane was shot down from Ukrainian farmland by a BUK missile ‘controlled by pro-Russian fighters’. That conclusion has been disputed by Russia, which claims that Ukrainian fighters were responsible.

The case will be brought in the Dutch courts after Russia blocked an attempt to take it to a United Nations tribunal.

The head of the investigation team, Fred Westerbeke, said last October Dutch prosecutors may be ready to start the trial of those accused of shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 within months.

Westerbeke told Novaja Gazeta a number of suspects were in the frame but Dutch law prevented him from naming names. ‘We will disclose everything when this investigation is over, and we will give the names at the trial,’ he said.

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