Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Crashes in Ukraine


The Living Force


The Living Force
Yesterday's court session was the last one in the series wherein surviving family members could make statements about their grief and how they coped with the aftermath of the disaster. Here are the links to the available reports:

‘We lost joy in living’: grief of MH17 victims’ relatives laid bare in court
'Loss and pain': Families testify at Dutch MH17 trial
'Loss and pain': Families testify at Dutch MH17 trial

Nabestaanden maken met verhalen over 'ijzig gemis' diepe indruk op MH17-rechters

Other news: Ukraine warned months in advance that MH17 flight route was dangerous
Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 11:45

Ukraine warned months in advance that MH17 flight route was dangerous

Ukraine signaled to European countries and aviation organization Eurocontrol several months before the devastating crash of the MH17 flight that the flight space was not safe. This was shown in reports from a meeting of the aviation organization ECAC from May 2014 that had since now been kept secret, RTL Nieuws reported (in Dutch).

In the report, it was stated that Ukraine could no longer guarantee aircraft safe passage over the Ukrainian air space, due to ongoing conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels. Eurocontrol also showed concerns about the safety of the flight route.

“The territorial integrity of the country is being compromised in many instances through Russian action,” Ukrainian officials warned.

Nonetheless, many airline companies including KLM and Malaysian Airlines continued flying over the same route. Otherwise, the important passage to Asia would have to be circumvented, raising the cost of fuel.

Some flight companies, such as Delta and British Airways bypassed the route after the annexation of the Krim Crimea. Three months before the MH17 was shot down, the aviation organization ICAO also cautioned that it was not safe to fly over Ukraine. Around the same time, the American aviation organization forbade American airline companies to fly over Ukraine.

On July 17, 2014, the passenger flight MH17 was shot down by a missile stemming from Russia, killing all 298 people on board, including nearly 200 Dutch people.

Other coverage in Dutch:
'Oekraïne waarschuwde over eigen luchtruim voor ramp MH17'


The Living Force
Source: MH17 relatives' lawyers are 'being intimated by Russia', NCTV says -

MH17 relatives’ lawyers are ‘being intimated by Russia’, NCTV says

October 28, 2021

Lawyers representing the relatives of people who died in the MH17 disaster are being intimidated and the Dutch counter terrorism agency NCTV has offered them extra security, broadcaster RTL Nieuws said on Thursday (in Dutch).

Several lawyers have been followed home and this may be connected to the fact that relatives were allowed to speak in court during last month’s hearings, RTL said. This means the lawyers have had a more prominent role in the case than usual.

The trial resumed in September and for three weeks relatives were able to outline to judges what the tragedy of July 2014 had meant to them.

They were supported in this by a group of eight lawyers who have been given access to all the files held by the public prosecution department.

The lawyers were invited to attend a briefing by the NCTV on September 22, during which NCTV staff said that Russia had being trying to intimidate them and hinder them in their work, RTL reported.

The agency said it does not expect that any physical violence would be used against the lawyers, all of whom declined to be interviewed for the RTL article.

Leiden University researcher Ben de Jong, who specializes in Russian security issues, said the modus operandi is typical. ‘If you see a group as an enemy, because they say negative things about Russia in public or in the media, then you have to do something about it,’ he said. ‘So you intimidate people and try to make them feel insecure in retaliation.’

Three Russians and one Ukrainian have been charged with 298 counts of murder for supplying the BUK missile which the prosecution service says was fired at the Boeing 777. The passenger airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. Russia denies any involvement.

Similar: Lawyers representing MH17 relatives intimidated; Russia suspected

Dutch coverage: 'Advocaten MH17-proces geïntimideerd, waarschijnlijk door Rusland'


The Living Force
The MH17 trial has resumed its court sessions, and the first report is in.
Source (Dutch only): Advocaten MH17-verdachte uiten sterke kritiek op OM

Lawyers for MH17 suspect express strong criticism of Prosecutors' Office
ANP - 3 hours ago

SCHIPHOL (ANP) - On Monday, the lawyers of MH17 suspect Oleg Pulatov heavily criticized the Public Prosecutor's Office. According to lawyer Sabine ten Doesschate, the Prosecutor's Office wrongly brushed aside a statement from a witness. She believes this statement - in which witness 'S45' says that there was no BUK missile in the vicinity of the alleged firing location - is definitely relevant.

"It is incomprehensible that the prosecution has assessed the contents of S45's statement as irrelevant," she said in court at Schiphol on Monday. "Moreover, we have great difficulty with the fact that the Prosecution has not reported having these documents at its disposal." This otherwise anonymous witness is said to have stayed in Ukraine for six months around the time of the crash of MH17, on July 17, 2014.

He has stated that he believes the Boeing was not brought down with a BUK missile. "He explains why he is convinced that within a radius of 50 km from him no BUK was fired; that it could not have been missed given the amount of noise and other signals."

According to the prosecution, the Malaysia Airlines plane was indeed brought down with such a type of missile over eastern Ukraine. An armed conflict was going on there at the time. All passengers, including almost two hundred Dutch, died in the disaster. Four men are suspected of involvement in the disaster: rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergei Dubinsky, his assistant Oleg Pulatov, and garrison commander Leonid Khartshenko. Only Pulatov is assisted by lawyers, the others have remained silent.

Translated with (free version)


The Living Force
Other reports on the first session of this week yesterday:
Suspect's lawyer accuses Prosecutor of dismissing relevant MH17 testimony

Reports on today's second session (Dutch only):
MH17-proces waarschijnlijk maanden vertraagd vanwege Russische getuige
MH17-proces waarschijnlijk maanden vertraagd vanwege Russische getuige
Likely months delay in MH17 trial, possibly Russian commander may yet be questioned

The MH17-process threatens to be delayed for months. The Public Prosecutor's Office was supposed to hold its indictment this month and present the criminal penalties against the four suspects, but now states that it will not be able to do so until mid-February. This is because the court has extended the deadline for questioning a Russian army commander as a witness.

Cyril Rosman 02-11-21, 16:26 - Last update: 17:14

Russia responded to the request last August. That response would show that an interrogation was not impossible. After that, the Russians did not react any further. Initially, the deadline for questioning Mutskayev would have been set by the court at November 1. This afternoon, however, the court decided to extend the deadline to February 10.


The Public Prosecutor's Office then stated that it could only come up with a punitive demand after the army commander had been questioned. If that happens, Pulatov's lawyers also want their plea, which was scheduled for March, to be postponed by at least three months.

The MH17 trial has been going on for more than a year and a half, beginning in March 2020. The plane was shot out of the sky over war zones in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, likely by a BUK missile held by pro-Russian rebels. All 298 occupants, including nearly 200 Dutch citizens were killed in the process. The missile was reportedly driven from the base of the 53rd Russian Anti-Aircraft Brigade in the city of Kursk to the Ukrainian border. It was then allegedly taken to a meadow in eastern Ukraine. Who then pressed the firing button on July 17 is not yet known. The four suspects now on trial were part of the chain-of-command in eastern Ukraine and, according to the judiciary, were involved in the transportation of the missile installation.

Commander's grandfather

Whether the army commander will actually be interrogated is highly questionable. So far, requests to Russia have yielded almost no results. The file does contain a statement by the commander's grandfather. This man says "that in Russia itself an investigation was conducted into the involvement of the 53rd brigade and that this investigation exonerated my grandson".

The four suspects (three Russians and one Ukrainian) have also never appeared in court. Although an international search warrant has been issued against them, the suspects (probably) reside in Russia and that country does not extradite nationals.

Next of kin

The trial now continues on November 8. Then a number of surviving relatives will read their victim statements. It is as yet unclear how the trial will proceed thereafter. "The court's decision today came as a surprise," says Piet Ploeg, chairman of the Stichting Vliegramp MH17 (MH17 air disaster foundation) which represents many surviving relatives. "We hope that it will not lead to much delay, because that will not benefit anyone in this process and certainly not the next of kin."

Last month, dozens of surviving relatives already spoke in court. They often made very emotional statements (in Dutch) about the loss of their family members.

Translated with (free version)

Related other news (Dutch only):
Russische ambassadeur haalt uit naar Nederland
Russian Ambassador lashes out at the Netherlands

International relations The Russian ambassador to the Netherlands has been very critical of the relationship with the Netherlands in front of Russian media. According to him, members of parliament are led by "fake news and mendacious reporting".

Eva Cukier - 2 November 2021 at 17:41


Aleksandr Shulgin, the Russian ambassador in the Netherlands
- Photo by Phil Nijhuis

Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands, Aleksandr Shulgin, delivered a harsh verdict on Dutch-Russian relations on Tuesday. In an online press conference organized by Rossiya Segodnia news agency, Shulgin spent an hour on Tuesday answering previously submitted questions from Russian journalists on numerous diplomatically sensitive issues between Russia and the West.

Shulgin, ambassador to The Hague since 2015, assessed relations between the Netherlands and Russia as "far from good." He also denounced the "mainly negative publications" on Russia in the Dutch media, which he said would focus too much on negative issues such as hacking, spying, Russian interference, and other "accusations."

He also denounced the "one-sided" investigation into the MH17 crash and complained that Russian evidence is being ignored by investigators. It was also announced on Tuesday that the prosecution's penalty verdict against three Russian and one Ukrainian suspect in the MH17 criminal case, previously scheduled for this month, is not expected until February.

According to Shulgin, Russia is willing to improve relations, but the Netherlands must work just as hard to do so. According to the ambassador, Dutch parliamentarians are too much led by "fake news and mendacious reporting" about Russia. Incidentally, Shulgin's criticism does not concern Dutch citizens. He does not find any Russophobia in Dutch society, and he finds the Dutch "friendly, open and eager to work."

Crimean Treasures

According to Shulgin, relations between the Netherlands and Russia deteriorated well before 2014, the year flight MH17 was downed. He blamed the Dutch government for a double agenda towards Russia. "The Netherlands wants to show Russia two hands. One opened, with an offer of cooperation. The other as a fist, with which it threatens Russia and wants to show that [the Netherlands] does not want business as usual," Shulgin said by video link from the Russian embassy in The Hague.

He additionally addressed the legal case surrounding the so-called Crimean Treasures, a collection of precious objects from Crimea - annexed by Russia in 2014 - to which both Ukraine and Russia have a claim. The Amsterdam Court of Appeals ruled last week that the treasures must be returned to Ukraine.

Poison attacks

The Russian ambassador, who in addition is permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, spoke at length about Russia's position within the international organization. The OPCW is investigating the use of the chemical weapon novichok against former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in 2018 in Salisbury, UK. In the same year, the Netherlands foiled a Russian hacking attack targeting the OPCW.

The organization is also concerned with the attack on opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, who is imprisoned in Russia after he was also poisoned with novichok in 2020. Shulgin complained that Russia was not heard within the organization and stressed that it will not tolerate any restriction of its voting rights or other punitive measures. He added that Russia will take "appropriate" measures, but would not comment on the nature of those measures.

Translated with (free version)


FOTCM Member
According to Shulgin, Russia is willing to improve relations, but the Netherlands must work just as hard to do so. According to the ambassador, Dutch parliamentarians are too much led by "fake news and mendacious reporting" about Russia. Incidentally, Shulgin's criticism does not concern Dutch citizens. He does not find any Russophobia in Dutch society, and he finds the Dutch "friendly, open and eager to work."

Here's to Aleksandr Shulgin!


The Living Force
Here's to Aleksandr Shulgin!

Source (Dutch only): Laatste nabestaanden MH17 spreken rechters toe, strafeis later

NOS News - Domestic - today, 18:51
Last surviving relatives of MH17 address judges, sentencing later

The punitive demands in the MH17 trial have been delayed and will not follow until a month from now at the earliest, it emerged today in the court at Schiphol Airport. A number of surviving relatives also took the floor there. In September, more than 90 (in Dutch) surviving relatives made use of their right to speak.

The very last speaker was Anton Kotte, a board member of the Stichting Vliegramp MH17 (MH17 air disaster foundation). He lost his son, daughter-in-law and grandson in the disaster. Like many other relatives of victims, Kotte criticized the attitude of Russia, which is said to have spread false information. The United States has also not fully cooperated, Kotte said. "We have become a plaything in an international geopolitical game." Washington did not release secret radar images.

Kotte had brought his grandson's backpack. It was found undamaged at the disaster site, with all the stuffed animals and toys still inside. Kotte's now deceased wife often sat with that backpack on her lap, he said. "It felt to her like her grandson was very close to her," he said. On the screens in the courtroom, he showed a video of his grandson learning to read. He closed with Rutger Kopland's poem Leaving.

Penalty demands

The next step in the process is the prosecutor's indictment, in which the (possible) punishment demands are pronounced. This was initially scheduled for next week, but it will be December at the earliest.

The court wants a final attempt to be made to interrogate the commander of the Russian 53rd anti-aircraft brigade. The latter is alleged to have supplied the BUK missile used to shoot down MH17. The commander, Sergei Mutskayev, resides in Russia. Previous attempts to interrogate him have failed.

The court thinks it should be clear in December whether the Russian authorities will cooperate. If the interrogation does go ahead, the indictment will not come until February next year, otherwise it will be December. The verdict in the MH17 trial is not expected until the second half of next year.

Translated with (free version)


FOTCM Member
Thinking on the last speaker, Anton; and his loss is great, wherein the thought was "Washington did not release secret radar images."

In a way, that is answering a major piece of evidence presented to the world in original headlines. So, why they don't find that a red flag, the position being either there were never any images or, what they have does not support the official narrative. Not being able to answer those two questions would leave them with other questions, yet that is, sadly, too painful of a process, so they let the non-evidence part go without address.


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Source (Dutch only): Belangrijke MH17-getuige mag van Rusland niet spreken in rechtbank

Key MH17 witness not allowed by Russia to speak in court

December 08, 2021 15:32 Last update: 20 minutes ago

Sergei Mutskayev, commander of the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade, will not be able to testify in the extensive criminal trial surrounding the downing of flight MH17. The court would have liked to hear him, but Russia is not cooperating with the legal assistance request, it became clear Wednesday at the resumption of the criminal case in the secure court at Schiphol Airport.

Mutskayev's Russian unit is responsible for delivering the BUK missile that allegedly brought down the Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine, according to the international investigation team.

Last month, the court ordered an investigation into whether the commander could and would testify. Russian authorities rejected the request this week on the grounds that questions to Mutskayev could involve secret military data.

Execution of the legal assistance request could cause harm to Russia and be about Russian state secrets, the court's president explained about the reasons for the rejection.

Prosecutors can now come up with penalty demands

Now that the witness cannot be heard, the substantive hearing of the case is over. The next step is the indictment of the prosecutor which will result in the penalty demands against the four suspects. This will begin on December 20 and will probably last three days.

In the disaster with the Malaysia Airlines plane on July 17, 2014, all occupants, including almost two hundred Dutch, died.

Four men are suspected of involvement in the disaster: rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergey Dubinskiy, his assistant Oleg Pulatov and garrison commander Leonid Kharchenko. Only Pulatov is assisted by lawyers; the others have not been heard from.

A verdict in the trial is not expected until the second half of next year.

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Source (Dutch only): Advocaat nabestaanden MH17: zou schelen als er sorry wordt gezegd

Lawyer for relatives of MH17: it would help if sorry were said

ANP - 2 hours ago

SCHIPHOL (ANP) - The relatives of flight MH17 on Wednesday denounced the attitude of the four defendants in the criminal case. "There is a total absence of any empathy," said lawyer Ruth Jager on behalf of the Legal Aid Team. "It would take a lot of pain away from the relatives if there was some way to say sorry."

None of the defendants, she said, seem to have even a moment's reflection on the suffering of the bereaved. "All of the defendants have been repeatedly invited by the prosecution to testify. None of them has complied with these invitations."

In the extensive criminal proceedings on the downing of flight MH17, the claims of the surviving relatives were discussed on Wednesday. A total of 301 claims for compensation have been submitted, between 40,000 and 50,000 euros. Lawyer Arlette Schijns, when explaining this, indicated that "money cannot reverse time." "It does not bring loved ones back from the dead, and it does not force those who caused this suffering to take responsibility."


For the claims, the team of Dutch lawyers enlisted the help of Ukrainian lawyers and a professor. The Malaysia Airlines plane crashed over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. In the disaster, all occupants, including nearly two hundred Dutch, died.

Four men are suspected of involvement in the disaster: rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergei Dubinskiy, his assistant Oleg Pulatov and garrison commander Leonid Kharchenko. Only Pulatov is assisted by lawyers, the others have not been heard from.

Translated with (free version)
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