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‘Strong indications’ Putin involved in downing of Malaysia Airlines jet that killed 298, probe finds


Russian President Vladimir Putin has been implicated in the 2014 downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet, according to Dutch prosecutors.

On Wednesday, an international team of investigators said they found “strong indications” that Putin personally approved the supply of long-range anti-aircraft weapons to the pro-Russian separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was struck down by a Buk missile that was fired by pro-Moscow Ukrainian rebels, killing all 298 people on board. The wreckage of the crash and the bodies of passengers were scattered over farmland in eastern Ukraine.

Members of the Joint Investigation Team had documented indications of Putin’s role in the incident based on recorded telephone conversations in which Russian officials said that providing military support could only be approved by the president.

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However, the investigators noted that they had insufficient evidence to prosecute Putin.

“There is concrete information that the separatists’ request was presented to the president, and that this request was granted,” the investigators said. “It is not known whether the ‘Strong indications’ Putin involved in downing of Malaysia Airlines jet that killed 298, probe finds request explicitly mentions a Buk system.”

According to the prosecutors, they had exhausted their leads and there will be no more criminal proceedings.

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Russia has always denied any involvement and has refused to cooperate with the international investigation.

The investigation team reportedly informed the families of those killed in the downing of MH17 before making their reports public.

“There was disappointment because they wanted to know why MH17 was shot down,” Andy Kraag of the Dutch police said. “We’re really clear on what has happened, but the answer to the question why MH17 was shot down still remains in Russia.”

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In November last year, three men, including Russians Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and Ukrainian separatist Leonid Kharchenko, were convicted of the murders of 298 people and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia by a Dutch court. However, they were never arrested or extradited. A fourth suspect was also acquitted.

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