RECKLESS Russia was drilling troops in Ukraine on how to down aircraft the day it was accused of blasting a passenger plane.
Vladimir Putin’s commanders ordered four days of military exercises in annexed Crimea with S-400 surface-to-air missile launchers.
On Wednesday — a day after the air attack response tests began — prosecutors charged four people with shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, murdering 298 passengers and crew.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2014 when it was hit over Ukraine.
A source branded the war games, which included more than 100 Russian aircraft, “thoughtless, crass and insensitive”.
They added: “It shows once again how Russia disregards the normal rules every other law-abiding nation follows.”
The drills in Crimea — seized illegally by Russia in 2014 — were to test combat readiness.
S-400 crews were ordered to move into positions to create air defences.
A statement by the Russian military said: “The combat teams of S-400 ‘Triumf’ anti- aircraft missile systems accomplished the task.”
Meanwhile a Dutch-led joint investigation team issued international arrest warrants for Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, plus Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.
Chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said: “These suspects are seen to have played an important role in the death of 298 civilians.
“Though they did not push the button, we suspect them of close co- operation to get the (missile launcher) where it was, with the aim to shoot down an airplane.”
He said there was evidence Russia provided the launcher, believed to have been a BUK.
Prosecutors hope to start a court case in the Netherlands next March.
Source: Read Full Article