KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 17, 2019, NST. The Council of the European Union (EU Council) has called on Russia to accept responsibility and cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, reported the New Straits Times.
Flight MH17, which was flying 298 passengers and crew members including 43 Malaysians was shot down near Hrabove, a village in the eastern part of Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The aircraft had departed Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and was on its way to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down.
In a statement, the council which consists heads of state or government of the 28 EU member states, also expressed full confidence in the independence and professionalism of the legal procedures that lie ahead.
“On this day, when we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which led to the death of 298 innocent people, our hearts are with all those who lost their loved ones and we continue to share their grief.
“The EU reiterates its full support for all efforts to establish the truth, justice and accountability for the victims and next of kin, in accordance with United Nation Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2166.
“In this context, the EU welcomes the announcement by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on June 19, 2019, that criminal charges will be brought in the Netherlands against four individuals,” the EU Council said.
The JIT had named four suspects to be charged over the death of the passengers and crew members on board MH17.
In a statement produced by the Ministry of Justice and Security of the Netherlands, the trial would start in March 2020 in the country.
“It has been decided that the Hague district court will hear the case and that the hearings will take place at the Justice Complex Schiphol,” said JIT, in the statement.
The New York Times reported that the Dutch-led investigative team announced charges against Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russian Federal Security Service (FBS), the successor Russian intelligence agency KGB; and Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, both of whom had worked for the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU.
The news agency reported that prosecutors also charged Leonid Kharchenko, who is a Ukrainian citizen but led a Russian-backed separatist unit under the command of Dubinsky.