NATO Chief Says Hague Court Verdict On MH17 Plane Crash 'Important Day For Justice'

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th November, 2022) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday welcomed the Hague district court's verdict on the MH17 plane crash as "an important day for justice and accountability."

"The verdict reached by The Hague District Court marks an important day for justice and accountability in the downing of flight #MH17. There can be no impunity for such crimes. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the 298 innocent victims," Stoltenberg tweeted.

Earlier in the day, the court found Russian citizens Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky, and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko guilty of the MH17 plane crash and sentenced them to life imprisonment in absentia. At the same time, Russian citizen Oleg Pulatov was found innocent in the case and exempt from liability for compensation claims, while the three accused will have to pay relatives of the victims a total of $16 million.

The court did not establish Russia's involvement in the plane crash, though mentioned that Moscow already had control over the Donetsk People's Republic in 2014, when the incident took place.

The MH17 passenger flight from Amsterdam to Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur crashed near the city of Donetsk on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew members on board were killed.

The Dutch-led international Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which does not include Russia, has suggested that the aircraft was shot by a Russian-made Buk missile originating from a military brigade stationed in the Russian city of Kursk. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the JIT allegations of Russia's links to the crash were groundless, adding that the investigation was biased and one-sided.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolay Vinnichenko told Sputnik that Moscow handed over to the Netherlands not only radar data, but also documentation proving that the Buk missile belonged to Ukraine and was launched from the Kiev-controlled territory. However, investigators ignored this information, according to Vinnichenko.