Disinfo: The MH17 show trial is not about justice, but information warfare


The MH17 tragedy is back in the news after the start of this case’s show trial in the Netherlands, which isn’t about bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice or helping the victims’ families find closure, but waging information warfare against Russia in an attempt to “conclusively” pin the blame for this crime on its supposed proxies in Eastern Ukraine so as to ruin President Putin’s international reputation once and for all.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the International Joint Investigation (JIT)  into the downing of flight MH17 and the subsequent trial.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) - which is comprised of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service officials and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Persecution service will persecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board. The public hearing is started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands.

The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable.

Read other disinformation narratives alleging that The Netherlands is going to sabotage the MH17 trialThe MH17 trial will be a show process, and that There was no BUK, MH17 crashed because of an explosion on board.


  • Reported in: Issue 188
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: Russophobia, 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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