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Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Says Dutch Investigators To Name First MH17 Suspects On June 19


Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal (file photo)

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal says Dutch authorities plan to name suspects in the downing of flight MH17 five years ago, in which all 298 people aboard the passenger jet were killed.

In a June 18 interview with Interfax-Ukraine, Zerkal said the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in charge of investigating the disaster will name the first four suspects in the case on June 19.

"The names will be announced. Charges will be brought. After that, the Criminal Court of Schiphol (the Netherlands) will start working on considering this case,” Zerkal was quoted as saying.

Dutch media, including the NL Times and RTL Nieuws, have reported that relatives of the victims will be first be briefed, after which a news conference will be held at 1 p.m. local time.

On June 14, the JIT noted "new developments" in the investigation in an email sent to the victims' relatives, RTL Nieuws reported.

JIT initially announced in 2016 that the sophisticated Buk missile system, which was used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, came from Russia.

Russia's 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade had transported the Buk in 2014 to and from Ukraine, JIT additionally concluded in May 2018.

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Moscow seized control of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and has supported the separatists who control parts of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in a war that has killed some 13,000 people since April of that year.

The passenger flight was downed in the conflict zone over non-government-controlled territory.

Using open-source data, England-based online sleuth Bellingcat has also maintained that the same Russian brigade was involved in transporting the missile system to and from Ukraine.

Russia denies involvement in the tragedy.

It has blamed, among others, Ukraine and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for the disaster.

With reporting by Interfax-Ukraine, the NL Times and RTL Nieuws.
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