On this day five years ago 298 innocent civilians lost their lives. The death toll included 80 children from 10 countries. These tragic deaths were as a direct result of the terrible downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 which was brought down by the ‘Buk’ Russian anti-aircraft missile system, launched from the uncontrolled territory of Donbas. This day will forever remain a tragic page in history, not just for Ukraine but for the whole world.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its sincere condolences to all of the relatives and next of kin of those who died in this catastrophe.
Despite the best efforts of the Russian Federation to block the investigation process and shift its responsibility in the downing of flight MH17 – the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which includes representatives of investigators and prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine – has identified the first four suspects, who will face trial on March 19, 2020.
The accused are Russians Igor Girkin, Sergiy Dubinskyi, Oleg Pulatov and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.
This is just the beginning of the process. In time, the direct perpetrators will be identified and brought to justice.
Our top priority remains achieving justice for the victims by bringing the perpetrators of this terrorist act to court. Nobody is beyond the reach of international justice.
The downing of flight MH17 is not only a criminally punishable act, but it also constitutes a violation of the norms of international law by the Russian Federation, in particular, of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
This heinous crime will not go unpunished. We are confident that the ongoing investigation will identify those who are guilty of the deaths of 298 innocent civilians and that an independent court will hand down the appropriate punishment. Justice will be served.