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POST TIME: 20 June, 2019 11:40:01 PM
Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accused
AFP, Washington

Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accused

Moscow must ensure that those charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 face justice, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, after international investigators accused three Russians and a Ukrainian over the disaster. The trial of the four men with military and intelligence links will start in the Netherlands in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals. They would be the first people to face justice over the catastrophe five years ago in which 298 people died.

But Moscow slammed the “absolutely unfounded accusations” over the downing of the plane, which was travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a missile over part of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels.

The Dutch-led inquiry team on Wednesday said international arrest warrants had been issued for Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, all of whom are suspected of roles in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic.

Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said the four were to be held responsible for bringing the BUK missile system from Russia into eastern Ukraine “even though they have not pushed the button themselves.” “We won’t demand their extradition because Russian and Ukrainian law forbids the extradition of their nationals. But we ask Russia once more to cooperate—many of our questions remain unanswered,” he told a press conference.