Tuesday 22 June 2021

MH17 suspect tapes show planning behind BUK missile move

A reconstruction of the wreckage of MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board.

One of the men on trial for his role in the flight MH17 disaster only knew a passenger plane had been brought down hours after it happened, current affairs programme Nieuwsuur said on Sunday.

The tapes also show how suspects behind the downing of the plane discussed the need for heavyweight artillery and tanks in their battle to take the border with Russia from the Ukrainian military.

The official investigation 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.

In total, Nieuwsuur has obtained tapes of thousands of conversations made by Sergei Dubinsky before, during and after the incident in 2014. The conversations have been released by the Ukraine secret service and are authentic, Dutch investigators say.

In one snippet, Dubinsky says that there is nothing he can do against the Ukrainian combat aircraft. ‘If I can get the BUK system early enough in the morning, I can take it there. Then it’s okay. If not, I’m in the shit,’ he says.

Later on Dubinsky responds to another call: ‘Well, the Buk is expected tonight. After that, all our problems should be solved.’

Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, Igor Girkin and Leonid Kharchenko are charged with causing the crash of flight MH17, resulting in the death of all persons on board, and of their murder.

All four are said to have played key roles in the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ in eastern Ukraine, where the Buk missile which brought down the plane was fired.

Everyone onboard flight MH17 was 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.

A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution department, which has also had access to the tapes, told Nieuwsuur that the fact Dubinsky was unaware a passenger plane had been shot down had no impact on the case against him.

‘He is guilty of causing an aircraft to have an accident and murdering those on board,’ the spokesman said. ‘There is no need to prove intent.’

Read the NOS article in English

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