Dutch Prosecutors have finally – five years later – named the first suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Donbass region of Ukraine in July 2014.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, they are Russian.
Well, three Russians and one Ukrainian.
The announcement was made by Dutch prosecutors at a press conference this afternoon (Wed 19th). The names are Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko. All four have been involved in fighting for the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine since the coup government launched their assault on the region in 2014.
All four are also – allegedly – either ex-Russian soldiers or ex-intelligence operatives. But as we have seen with the Skripal case, and various other incidents in recent years, the mainstream media play pretty fast and loose with accusations of “Russian spy”.
Most telling, perhaps, is the fact that, though all four are Russian or associated with Russia, none are actually officially affiliated with the Russian government or Russian military. Considering the accusations that have been flying around since the incident occurred, this could be considered a cautious first official charge, or even a form of climbdown. A token charge, to refresh the anti-Russia sentiment and distract from other issues.
The charges themselves are largely moot, seeing as the Russian constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens. There will be no trial at which the accused are present, meaning the Dutch prosecutor – if they choose to proceed – will have to try the men in absentia, or hold a ludicrous “inquiry” that mirrors the Litvinenko farce the UK held in 2015.
Within 2 hours The Guardian had 3 stories dedicated to it – including one each by inveterate anti-Russia propagandists Luke Harding and Shaun Walker. This is very speedy writing.
Considering the verbiage dedicated to this subject it is remarkable what information they neglected to include:
- The “Joint Investigation” included the Ukrainian government, who had the power to veto any evidence they chose.
- Bellingcat, the “citizen journalists” who are so involved in this investigation receive funding from the Atlantic Council and the National Endowment for Democracy.
- Just last month Dr Mahathir Muhamad, the Malaysian Prime Minister, stated that Malaysia – despite being home of the airline involved – were denied permission to examine the black boxes.
- He went on to add that the entire investigation was “politically motivated” to “scapegoat Russia”
So, the questions become:
- Can you trust the findings of an investigation of which one of the main suspects was an active member, with veto power?
- How reliable are “citizen journalists” when they are funded by US gov’t backed NGOs?
- Why are they making this announcement now? Is it to stoke anti-Russia feeling, or just a distraction?
- Will there be more charges? Or more sanctions as a result of these charges?
- Was the investigation “politically motivated as Dr Muhamad claimed?
- Will the Dutch prosecute these men in absentia?
- Would that process violate their rights?
This is an open thread, and maybe be subject to updates as the story progresses. You can read our older coverage of MH17 here.
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