Russia Monitors MH17 Trial in Netherlands, Hopes for Impartial Judgment – Ambassador

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia is monitoring the criminal proceedings in the Hague regarding the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, hoping for an impartial trial, despite the one-sided probe by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin said on Friday.

The trial of four suspects in the case — Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko — began in March, but had to be adjourned over the COVID-19 pandemic. It was resumed this Monday.

“We closely monitor the situation as three of those accused of the downing of the Malaysian plane in eastern Ukraine are Russian citizens. They are tried in absentia, and their rights should be observed and guaranteed,” the ambassador said stressing that Russia is not a party to the case.

The diplomat added that Moscow would like to avoid prejudging the court’s decisions.

“We hope that the Dutch judges will examine carefully and in an impartial and objective manner all the relevant information pertaining to this highly controversial case. It means not only the arguments presented by the prosecution should be taken into consideration, but also the position of the defence,” Shulgin said.

At the same time, he reiterated Russia’s objections to the way the investigation into the incident had been handled by the Dutch side, especially the way it has ignored the information provided by Moscow while unquestioningly accepting data from Ukraine, despite it being an interested party.

“No wonder that the work of JIT has so far been politicized, one-sided and biased. It seems that only those pieces of evidence which confirm the official scenario are admitted, all other information is simply rejected or forgotten,” the ambassador said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July, 2014, in eastern Ukraine on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 people aboard died. The accident was investigated by Dutch prosecutors and the JIT. Russia, which conducted its own investigation after being denied access to the JIT probe, said it had given the Dutch team evidence, such as radar data, proving the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile.

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