There are “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the transfer of the Russian missile system that downed a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in 2014, a Dutch prosecutor said.
Digna van Boetzeller said on Wednesday that intercepted phone calls suggested that Putin had personally rubber-stamped arms transfers to Russian-backed separatists fighting in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, where MH17 was shot down.
“The investigation has now reached its limit,” van Boetzeller told a news conference in The Hague. “Investigations are insufficient to prosecute new suspects,” meaning Putin and other Russian officials would not be subject to criminal investigation.
Dutch Prime Minister referring to the rule Mark Root wrote on Twitter: “We will not stop. Since 2014 we have all become too familiar with Russia and its President Putin’s pattern of obstruction, lies and injustice.” Rutte added that the Dutch state is “committed to establishing the truth and achieving justice and accountability”.
The Boeing 777 was flying from the Dutch capital to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile in July 2014 during clashes between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s Donbass region.
Russia has denied any involvement in the downing, although a Dutch court convicted in absentia two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader of their involvement.
In January, a Dutch court ruled that the Netherlands could bring a case before the European Court of Human Rights over the downing of the flight. It argued that Russia was responsible for the accident because of its support for the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.