Charges could be brought against high-ranking Russian officials and military officers in the MH17 murder case, said Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, as cited by Interfax-Ukraine.
“We will start with the soldiers and end with the generals and politicians,” he remarked.
Lutsenko noted that, at a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) press conference in the Netherlands, relatives of the victims had asked whether it would be possible to press charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Lutsenko’s Dutch colleague reportedly said that this possibility “cannot be ruled out”.
Lutsenko was unable to specify the precise number of possible suspects, but noted that Ukraine and the Netherlands are currently working to identify the direct perpetrators of the crime.
On 19 June, the JIT announced the first names of the persons accused of complicity in the downing of the Boeing over the Donbas. The suspects include Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, former defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR); Sergey Dubinsky, former head of DPR’s intelligence branch, and his subordinate Oleg Pulatov, all three of them Russian citizens. In addition, charges will be brought against Pulatov’s subordinate, the Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.
The Security Service of Ukraine began an investigation into the mentioned persons one day before the JIT’s official conclusions were announced. Dutch journalists and the Bellingcat group have also published their own lists of suspects.
In July 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine’s Donetsk province. All 298 people on board were killed. The Joint Investigation Team that was formed to investigate the catastrophe includes representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. The trial has been scheduled for 2020.