Disinfo: The JIT is blaming Russia for MH17 to hide the flaws of its investigation

Summary

The Netherlands is shunning a fully-fledged investigation into the MH17 plane crash. By refusing Russia’s request to share its MH17 files, Dutch authorities once again avoided taking all necessary measures to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the MH17 crash.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s accusations against Moscow are part of its strategy to cover up its own mistakes in the MH17 investigation.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to undermine the credibility of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that is investigating the MH17 disaster.

Firstly, Russia's stated interest to be involved in the JIT investigation is not a sufficient condition for its membership in the team. The crash did not take place over Russian territory and claimed no Russian lives, which precludes any basis for Moscow to be represented in the JIT. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told a Russian newspaper that "if MH17 were shot down over Russia, I would have suggested that Russia be made a member of the JIT group."

In earlier attacks on the JIT's integrity, pro-Kremlin outlets have accused the investigation team of bias, bribery, extortion, Russophobia, evidence-tampering, ignoring "information" kindly furnished by Moscow, and being in thrall to Western security services.

Background:

The criminal investigation in the case was led by the JIT since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, with the participation of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service will prosecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the MH17 crash and murdering all 298 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges that the four individuals cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason, they can also be held jointly accountable for downing flight MH17.

The JIT conclusions were further corroborated by the Bellingcat Investigation Team.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 184
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/02/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, MH17
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