Investigators set to identify suspects behind MH17 attack

International investigators probing the MH17 air disaster are set to identify suspects next week in the downing of the flight ‘shot down by Russian separatists over Ukraine’

  • MH17 was shot down by separatists in eastern Ukraine killing 298 passengers 
  • The attack five years ago was allegedly carried out by pro-Russian separatists 
  • A multi-national investigation team is set to present its latest finding to media

Investigators will next week announce criminal proceedings against suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 five years ago, allegedly by pro-Russian separatists, two leading Dutch broadcasters reported on Friday.

MH17 was shot out of the sky over territory held by separatists in eastern Ukraine as it flew from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.

About two-thirds of the passengers were Dutch.

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A pro-Russian separatist stands at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014

The reconstructed wreckage of MH17 is presented to the media by Dutch investigators back in 2015

Dutch prosecutors said on Friday a multi-national investigation team would present its latest findings to media and families on June 19.

A spokesman for the national Dutch prosecution service declined to specify what would be announced.

Citing anonymous sources, broadcaster RTL reported that the public prosecution service had decided to launch a case against several MH17 suspects.

National public broadcaster NOS also reported that criminal proceedings will be announced against individual suspects.

No suspects were named in the reports.

The Joint Investigation Team, which seeks to try the suspects under Dutch law, has said the missile system came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk.

MH17 taking off from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport just 24 hours before it was shot down over Ukraine

Investigators had said their next step would be to identify individual culprits and to attempt to put them on trial.

Dutch officials have said Russia has refused to cooperate.

Russia is not expected to surrender any potential suspects who may be on its territory and authorities have said individuals could be tried in absentia.

The Joint Investigation Team was formed in 2014 by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine to investigate collaboratively.

The Netherlands and Australia, which lost 38 people, hold Russia legally responsible. Moscow denies all involvement and maintains that it does not support, financially or with equipment, pro-Russian rebels fighting Ukrainian government troops.

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