On May 9, the trial of suspects in the MH17 catastrophe started in The Hague. It was originally planned that the court hearings would last 25 weeks.
The names of the main suspects in the crash are already known. We are talking about three citizens of Russia and one Ukrainian - Girkin, Pulatov, Dubinsky and Kharchenko. They are accused of playing a leading, organizing and supporting role in the deployment of the BUK air defense missile system, from which a Malaysian plane was shot down on June 17, 2014 in the skies over Donbas.
A few days ago it became known that the European Court of Human Rights registered a claim by the Netherlands against Russia over the crash of a Boeing777 over Donbas.
The court hearings are ongoing. Meanwhile, the time has come for the sixth anniversary of the MH17 tragedy. Let us recall how it all happened as well as all the key dates of the past six years.
July 17 is the day of the tragedy. A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER airliner was on its scheduled MH17 flight on the Amsterdam - Kuala Lumpur route. After 2 hours 49 minutes after takeoff, it collapsed in Hrabovo Donetsk region. The plane was completely destroyed, all 298 passengers, 283 passengers, and 15 crew members, who were on board, died. There were 192 citizens of the Netherlands, 44 citizens of Malaysia, 27 citizens of Australia, 12 citizens of Indonesia, 10 citizens of the UK, four citizens of Germany, four citizens of Belgium, three citizens of the Philippines, one person from Canada, and New Zealand. In total, 80 children died.
The next day, July 18, the Security Service of Ukraine released a recording of telephone conversations, in which the militants talk about the downed plane. The latter, in turn, blamed the Ukrainian army.
At that time, President Petro Poroshenko said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take any action to defeat targets in the air.
July 18. Employees of the State Emergency Service found 2 black boxes at the crash site. Their location was not disclosed. The militants did not let the Ukrainian rescuers reach the scene of the incident for about an hour and a half, and the Russian journalists were allowed in immediately.
On the night of July 22, Donbas militants handed over black boxes to experts from Malaysia.
July 23. Ukraine handed over to the Dutch Safety Council the authority to technically investigate the causes of the disaster.
July 28. The British Foreign Office published a statement entitled "Russian Myths about MH17", in which it called all the arguments of the Russian Federation in attempts to accuse Ukraine of the tragedy to be false.
July 31. The first group of international experts, which included specialists from Australia and the Netherlands, got to the scene of the accident after several unsuccessful attempts. Work has begun on the repatriation of the bodies of the victims.
August 4. An airplane with the remains of the dead passengers’ bodies took off from Kharkiv international airport to the Netherlands.
September 9. The Netherlands Security Council has published preliminary results of the investigation into the tragedy. Investigators said the Boeing was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in a militant-controlled area.
It was also found that the aircraft fell apart in the air due to external influences.
On the same day, then Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman stressed that Ukraine did not use weapons from which the plane could be shot down.
September 10. The National Security and Defense Council said that Ukraine is verifying information that the Boeing was shot down from the Russian BUK.
As of October 18, the remains of 278 victims of the disaster have been identified in the Netherlands.
German intelligence said that the Boeing was shot down by militants, with which the latter, of course, did not agree.
December 12. The last trucks with Boeing wreckage have arrived in the Netherlands. The first convoy of four trucks left Kharkiv on 3 December.
January 11. An investigation by German journalists started, presenting a convincing chain of evidence. It was said that the missile was fired from the BUK M1 anti-aircraft missile system, which tore the plane apart in the sky.
March 5. The Dutch prosecutor's office has completed a phase of research, photographing and documentation of the Boeing downing. At the beginning of this month, relatives of the victims and the press were admitted to the wreckage.
July 11. The Malaysian Prime Minister said that the investigation into the causes of the disaster could last until the end of the year.
July 17. The Verkhovna Rada called on the United Nations and the parliaments of the countries of the world to create a tribunal to investigate the tragedy.
July 29. The UN Security Council was unable to pass a resolution on the creation of an international tribunal. A draft resolution was submitted by Malaysia.
October 13. The Dutch Security Council has released a technical report on the Boeing crash. According to it, the plane was shot down by a missile launched from a BUK air defense system, which was located in the eastern part of Ukraine.
March 4. Bellingcat, an international independent investigative group, has concluded that the BUK, seen hours before the crash, from which "MH17 probably shot down," was under the control of militants or Russia.
June 6. The website of the Dutch prosecutor's office published the report of the joint investigation team. It was announced that the final conclusions of the investigators will be made public in the fall. The document outlined the areas of investigation that the specialists were working on at that time.
September 28. Representatives of the International Investigative Group stated that the plane was shot down by a missile from a BUK system located in the Pervomaiske area. It was reported that the investigation has about 100 names of people who may be involved in the transportation or use of this particular system in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the investigation "biased and politically motivated."
On the same day, the Prosecutor General's Office ruled out the possibility of blaming Ukraine for the MH17 disaster in terms of not closing the airspace.
September 30. Russia refused to apologize for the crash of MH17. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the Russian Federation intends to await the final results of the investigation, since it has not yet been completed.
February 15. Bellingcat has published a report on the likely organizer of the BUK missile system that shot down a Boeing 777 over Donbas. The report claims that retired officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation Sergey Dubinsky (call sign Khmuryi) was involved in this issue.
February 17. The person who is mentioned in Bellingcat "Identification of Khmury" as the likely organizer of the transfer of "BUK" to Donbas denies his involvement in the tragedy.
July 15. Ukraine called on the UN Security Council to implement the resolution on assistance in the MH17 case.
December 8. Bellingcat and The Insider have revealed the name of the key person involved in the case. They said that this was the chief inspector of the Central Military District of Russia, Colonel-General Nikolai Tkachev.
March 22. It became known that the trial of the suspects will take place in The Hague.
May 24. Investigators from the Netherlands confirmed that the plane was shot down by a Russian BUK. The joint investigation team managed to establish that the missile system belonged to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade from the city of Kursk.
May 25. The Netherlands and Australia have officially blamed the Russian Federation for the crash of the MH17 flight. The countries urged Russia to accept responsibility and cooperate in the investigation.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time that the Russian president had not yet had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the conclusions reached by Dutch investigators.
Meanwhile, the State Department said that the United States supports the conclusions of the investigation.
June 6. The Dutch government has absolved Ukraine of any responsibility for the MH17 tragedy. The foreign minister of the country noted that there are no grounds for bringing Ukraine to responsibility for the crash for not closing the airspace.
July 16. The foreign ministers of the G7 countries called on Russia to cooperate with the investigation.
July 18. The EU called on Russia to acknowledge its responsibility.
September 17. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the missile that shot down the Boeing belonged to Ukraine. The department argued that the video footage of the movements of the Russian BUK, presented by the joint investigation team to investigate the crash of the Boeing in Ukraine, had been falsified.
The Dutch government reacted to this statement, noting that it trusts the results of the investigation.
November 23. Relatives of 55 victims of the plane crash have filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights.
February 9. The Russian Foreign Ministry declared its readiness to negotiate with the Netherlands, but stressed that Ukraine should bear responsibility for not closing its sky.
February 19. The Security Service of Ukraine has put the Russian GRU officer Oleg Ivannikov, a key person involved in the investigation on the wanted list.
As Bellingcat found out, in 2014 he left for Donbas, where he coordinated the actions of the Wagner PMC units, and was also responsible for interaction with the leaders of the militants.
April 4. The European Court of Human Rights has transmitted to Russia information that 380 relatives of those killed in the Boeing crash have applied to the court.
June 18. Nieuwsuur Dutch channel released the names of four likely suspects in the crash.
The next day, June 19, it became known that the Dutch prosecutor's office would bring charges in the case of the crash of flight MH17 against Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko.
June 19. The accusations against the Russians in the MH17 case were called "unfounded" in Russia. The press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed the opinion that the statements of the investigation group "are aimed at discrediting the Russian Federation in the eyes of the international community."
Bellingcat has updated the list of fighters responsible for the disaster. Among the newly identified individuals are the militants who are directly responsible for the misidentification of MH17 as a target and for the escort and deployment of the BUK missile launcher that shot down MH17.
These are: Leonid Kharchenko, Oleg Pulatov, Eduard Gilazev, Oleg Sharp, Sergey Povalyaev, Valery Stelmakh, Igor Ukrainets and Alexander Semenov.
July 4. Ukrainian security forces in militants-controlled town of Snezhnoye arrested former anti-aircraft gunner Vladimir Tsemakh in connection with the crash of MH17. In 2014, he was the "air defense commander" of the militant group in the Snezhnoye area - at the time when the Boeing was shot down there.
Subsequently, on September 7, 2019, as part of a prisoner exchange, he was transferred to Russia, despite the fact that he still has Ukrainian citizenship.
Tsemakh was in the Russian Federation for a long time, but soon he was released back to the so-called DNR without any problems.
October 1. The Dutch authorities asked the Russian prosecutor's office to assist in the search for Tsemakh.
November 14. The investigation team released the militants' conversations with Russian officials.
February 3. The Dutch prosecutor's office brought charges against four persons involved in the case.
February 13. The Netherlands rejected Moscow's request to transfer to the Russian Federation the right to judge three Russian citizens identified as suspects of involvement in the MH17 crash. The request was submitted in October 2019.
The Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens, so none of the suspects will appear before the Dutch court.