The team investigating the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 will name the first four suspects at Wednesday’s news conference, Ukraine’s deputy foreign affairs minister Olena Zerkal has told news agency Interfax.
Charges against the four will be brought after their names are made public by the Joint Investigation Team, Zerkal said. ‘After that, the criminal court at Schiphol will start working to consider this case,’ she said.
Asked if this concerns Russian army’s senior officers, Zerkal said the transfer of weapons such as the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, which was used to shoot down the plane, ‘is impossible without the top brass’s permission’.
Last week it emerged that the JIT had written to the relatives of the 298 people who died to tell them that they will be briefed about the new discoveries on Wednesday ahead of a press conference.
The JIT is an alliance of investigators from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. The investigation has already determined that the missile which brought down the Malaysia Airlines plane came from a launching system which originated at a Russian military base, but not about who launched the missile.
Last May the Netherlands said it is holding Russia responsible for the disaster. Russia has consistently denied any involvement.
Investigative research group Bellingcat has told the AD it will publish new names of people suspected of involvement next week.
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