The Latest: Mother says 4 people to be tried over MH17 crash

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on the probe into the downing of flight MH17 (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed charges against Russian nationals for their alleged roles in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine five years ago as “absolutely unfounded.”

The international team investigating the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 announced murder charges Wednesday against three Russians and one Ukrainian for their alleged roles in the attack that killed all 298 people on board.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry criticized the investigators for using “dubious sources of information” and ignoring the evidence provided by Moscow in order to “discredit the Russian Federation.”

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It noted that the international team turned a blind eye to Ukraine’s failure to close its airspace to commercial flights despite the fighting in the east.

The ministry said despite the investigators’ “bias,” Russia will cooperate with the probe to “help determine the truth.”

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2:30 p.m.

The international team investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 says it wants to probe further the alleged Russian line of command behind the missile attack that killed 298 people. 

Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said that “We want to know about the line of command that contributed to making a Buk missile available and possibly more.”

Responding to a question about possible Kremlin involvement, he said Wednesday he would go as far up the chain as need be.

“We want to have a better view of the line of command and who was involved. And we do not impose ourselves any limits,” he said.    

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1:55 p.m.

A former rebel leader in eastern Ukraine is denying that the separatists are to blame for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Russian national Alexander Borodai, who was rebel leader in Ukraine’s Donetsk region in 2014 when the plane went down, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he knows that the accusations leveled against the rebels are untrue.

Dutch National Police on Wednesday said that it charged three Russians and one Ukrainian with murder over the downing of flight MH17 in July 2014 with the loss of 298 lives. One of them is rebel commander Igor Girkin.

The Dutch police also presented a wiretap of an alleged conversation between Borodai and senior Kremlin official Vladislav Surkov in which they discuss military aid for the separatists.

Borodai on Wednesday denied that did this, calling the released wiretap a “fake.”

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This item was corrected to show that the name of the senior Kremlin official is Vladislav, not Igor.

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1:50 p.m.

The international team investigating the downing of flight MH17 in which 298 people died will not ask Russia and Ukraine to extradite four suspects. 

Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said that the team realizes that the constitutions of both countries prohibit that. 

“In the short term we will ask Russia to hand the summons to the suspects who are in the Russian Federation,” he said. 

The investigators will also ask Russia to arrange for the suspects to be interviewed about the charges, he added.

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1:40 p.m.

One of the named murder suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 denies that Ukrainian separatists shot down the plane.

Igor Girkin told The Associated Press by phone on Wednesday that “the insurgents did not shoot it down.”

The plane went down in July 2014, killing all 298 people on board, over separatist-held eastern Ukraine. An international investigation team looking into the plane crash has blamed it on a Russian missile that was shot from separatist-held territory.

Girkin, a Russian national, was a military chief of the Russia-backed rebels in the area at the time and was named by the investigators on Wednesday as one of the key suspects.

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1:20 p.m.

Dutch National Police chief Wilbert Paulissen says three Russians and one Ukrainian have been charged with murder over the downing of flight MH17 in July 2014 with the loss of 298 lives.

He identified Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, along with Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, as suspects in the downing of the plane, and announced that their trial would start in March 2020.

All passengers and crew on board the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed on July 17, 2014, when a missile shattered the Boeing 777 in midair sending debris and bodies raining down onto farms and fields of sunflowers.

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12:20 p.m.

The mother of one of the victims says at least four suspects are to be tried for murder over the 2014 downing of Malaysia Flight 17. 

Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand, whose son Bryce and his girlfriend Daisy Oehlers were among the dead, expressed relief that five years after the plane was blown out of the sky above conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, someone was being held accountable. 

She told reporters that the trial would start on March 9, 2020. Investigators briefed the families Wednesday morning before they were due to give a news conference.

All 298 passengers and crew on board the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed on July 17, 2014, when a missile shattered the Boeing 777 in midair sending debris and bodies raining down onto farms and fields of sunflowers.

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8:30 a.m.

An international team of investigators building a criminal case against those responsible in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is set to announce progress in the probe, nearly five years after the plane was blown out of the sky above conflict-torn eastern Ukraine.

All 298 passengers and crew on board the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed on July 17, 2014, when a missile shattered the Boeing 777 in midair sending debris and bodies raining down onto farms and fields of sunflowers.

Ukraine’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Olena Zerkal, told Interfax-Ukraine news agency Tuesday that the investigators will name four suspects. Prosecutors declined to comment on her statements.

The families of those killed will be informed of developments Wednesday ahead of a news conference by investigators.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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