Five years after MH17 tragedy in Donbas

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

On July 17, 2014, Russian armed mercenaries shot down Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines, as the aircraft was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
13:42, 17 July 2019

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Exactly five years ago, on July 17, 2014, the Boeing-777 of flight MH17 was shot down in Donbas. The names of those involved in the crash have already been revealed, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) detained a possible witness to the crash, and the relatives of the victims are suing Russia. After all this time, remember what happened on July 17, 2014, and how events developed in the future.

Related: Five years later: Ukraine mourns for MH17 victims

What happened on July 17, 2014

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.

Related: An incomplete end to the MH17 tragedy

Who shot down the plane?

Igor Girkin, former “Minister of Defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)”, reported that the militants had shot down an AN26 military transport aircraft.

Russian media immediately picked up this information. For example, LifeNews TV channel; the news was subsequently deleted.

Here is the approximate chronology of the Russian versions of the one who shot down the MH17: Ukrainian Su-25 attack aircraft; Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile division; the plane was shot down from the Ukrainian "Beech M-1"; air-to-air missile; again Ukrainian "Buk", and again the SU-25.

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The words “Spanish traffic controller Carlos,” who later admitted that he received money from Russia, were cited as “evidence”.

The Netherlands and Australia officially blamed Russia for the crash of the MN17 flight. Russian Federation declares that they are ready for negotiations with the Netherlands in this matter. At the same time, Russia declared that Ukraine should be held responsible "for not having closed its sky."

Related: The Netherlands disappointed by Malaysian statement on investigation of MH17 crash

Details of the investigation

To investigate the tragedy, an international joint investigation team (JIT) was created, which included prosecutors and representatives of other law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Malaysia, as well as representatives of Eurojust.

According to their data, the MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 series rocket launched from a BUK-TELAR self-propelled firing unit from an agricultural field near the village of Pervomayske. The area at that time was under the control of pro-Russian separatists.

Related: MH17 case: EU urges Russia to take responsibility, cooperate with investigation

From the investigation, it follows that the BUK-TELAR self-propelled firing system was delivered to Ukraine from the Russian Federation and after it was used to attack the MN17 airliner, it was again returned to the territory of the Russian Federation.

In May 2018, investigators from the Netherlands found further evidence that the MH17 flight was shot down by the Russian “Buk”. The joint investigation team was able to establish that the Buk was in service with the Russian Armed Forces, in particular, it belonged to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade from the city of Kursk. The issue of its transportation was handled by retired officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation Serhiy Dubinsky.

Related: Ukrainian Tsemakh arrested over MH17 crash

According to Bellingcat and The Insider, another Russian GRU officer, Oleg Ivannikov, took part in transportation. Later, SBU announced Ivannikov’s wanted list, he was wanted for “the creation of a terrorist organization, leadership or participation in it”.

Investigators named the key person involved in the case of the downed Boeing, namely Colonel General and Chief Inspector of the Central Military District of Russia Nikolay Tkachev.

And in June 2019, Bellingcat updated the list of militants responsible for the crash of the MH17 aircraft. 

In addition, the prosecutor's office of the Netherlands will file an accusation in the case of the MH17 catastrophe against Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko.


At the end of June 2019, it was reported that the Ukrainian special services conducted an operation in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and detained former head of the air defense service in the town of Snizhne Volodymyr Tsemakh. It is noted that the detainee may be involved in the accident MH17 and was an eyewitness to these events.

According to the decision of the American court, ex-leader of the militants Igor Girkin must pay $ 400 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims of MH17 tragedy. He himself said that the decision “doesn't affect me one way or another.”

The EU calls on Russia to take responsibility for the MH17 catastrophe and cooperate with the investigation. At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said that the international investigation team had brought out “absolutely unfounded accusations” against the Russians in the MH17 disaster.

Related: MH17 case: Netherlands began procedure of passing criminal proceeding from Ukraine

It was also noted that the investigative group would not ask Russia and Ukraine to extradite four suspects of involvement in the crash. Since one of the suspects, a citizen of Ukraine Leonid Kharchenko, is in the temporarily occupied territory, and if he is detained and convicted by a Dutch court, the sentence will be carried out in the territory of Ukraine.

Related: MH17 crash: Ukraine's special services detain former anti-aircraft gunner in "DNR"

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