Disinfo: Russia is not involved in the MH17 crash, this can be seen at the hearings in Schiphol


Hearings in Schiphol in the case of the 2014 crash of flight MH17, show that there is no evidence of Russia’s guilt. There are only assumptions and statements by Ukrainian and American politicians. There is no real evidence of Russia’s involvement in the crash of MH17.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, aiming to discredit the criminal trial and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

In March this year, the District Court of The Hague began hearing the case of the crash of flight MH17 in the sky over Donbas. The Schiphol Judicial Complex, located near the Hague, has been reserved for one year for the MH17 case. The second block of court hearings in the MH17 case began on June 8, 2020. In the opening session, held on 9 March 2020, the public prosecutor brought charges against the four suspects and provided an explanation of the case to the court. On 8 June, when the hearings were resumed, the prosecutors presented the various investigations and explained how these were conducted. Prosecutors also presented an investigation of telecommunications, radar and satellite data, explaining the main and alternative scenarios. Another court hearing in the MH17 case began on Friday, July 3. The court has considered whether additional investigation is necessary at this stage in the case. The prosecution has indicated that in its view the investigation is basically complete, and the defence contests this. The defence would like 'alternative scenarios' to be investigated.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigated the case, collected evidence and reached clear conclusions: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in Eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system returned to the Russian Federation with one missing missile. On May 24 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. The fact that other investigators from the media and society also found evidence and uncovered the responsibilities of different persons in the chain of command that led to the tragedy, doesn't imply that the JIT didn't work or that none of the evidence is valid.

In the Netherlands, on 19 June 2019, the Joint Investigation Team presented new findings of their investigation into the crash of the Malaysian Airlines' Boeing-777 in the sky over the Donbas in 2014. The suspects are three Russians: Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and a citizen of Ukraine, Leonid Kharchenko. According to international investigators, all the suspects at the time of the MH17 disaster were in the east of Ukraine, where they could play an important role in the tragedy. The same names were revealed during an investigation by the independent group Bellingcat.

On top of that, on 10 July 2020, the Dutch government decided to bring Russia before the European Court of Human Rights for its role in the downing of Flight MH17. As stated on the government's website, it "attaches importance to continuing the meetings with Russia on the matter of state responsibility. The purpose of these meetings is to find a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and damage cause by the downing of Flight MH17."


  • Reported in: Issue 205
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: War in Ukraine, Donbas, MH17


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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