Putin okayed delivery of Buk system that downed MH17 to occupied Donbas, reports JIT

8 February, 06:14 PM
The crash of the Malaysian Boeing took place on July 17, 2014 (Photo:REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

The crash of the Malaysian Boeing took place on July 17, 2014 (Photo:REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

There are strong grounds to believe that the decision to supply a Buk anti-aircraft missile system to the Donetsk puppet authority, used to down civilian airliner MH17, was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Joint Investigation Team, which is investigating the crash of flight MH17, announced at a press conference on Feb. 8.

The experts referred to recordings of telephone conversations in which Russian officials are heard saying that the president has the final word on the decision to provide military assistance.

"The decision to provide support was postponed for a week because there was only one person who could make this decision — not the general or the defense minister — but the person who was directly accountable to the people and who is now at the summit in France," the investigators quote an official explaining the decision-making process in Russia.

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At the time, on June 5-6, 2014, Putin was in France to mark the occasion of D-Day, the anniversary of the Allies’ Normandy landings during World War II.

"There is specific information that the separatists' request was passed on to the president, and this request was granted," the report says.

“It is not known whether the request mentions the Buk system. A little later, heavier air defense systems appeared, including the Buk, which shot down MH17. Although we are talking about strong indications, the high bar of complete and convincing evidence has not been met. In addition, the president enjoys immunity as head of state.”

On Nov. 17, 2022, the Dutch District Court of The Hague sentenced Igor Girkin, Leonid Kharchenko, and Sergey Dubinsky to life imprisonment. They were found guilty of 298 counts of murder — for each passenger and crew member of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. Another defendant in the case, Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted by the court. Those found guilty must pay 16 million euros ($17.2 million) in compensation to the relatives of the victims.

The plane was shot down on July 17, 2014 over occupied Donbas, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. There were no survivors.

In August 2014, the Joint Investigation Team was established, which including representatives of Russia. In July 2015, Russia blocked a proposal in the UN Security Council to establish an international tribunal to investigate the MH17 crash.

In 2016, the Joint Investigation Team officially released the results of its investigation into the downing of MH17, determining that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile system that had been delivered to occupied Donbas from Russia.

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