MH17 crash trial: Russia was planning to send three Buk missile systems to Donbas but only one made it

Russia sent two Buk anti-aircraft missile systems to the territory of Ukraine and planned to send a third one, Ukrinform reported, citing Eliot Higgins, founder of the international investigative group Bellingcat.

"The first Buk arrived a few days before MH17 was shot down, but it broke down and had to be sent back to Russia. Then Russia tried to send two more on the night of July 17, but only one missile systems crossed the border, because there were not enough trucks to transport the other Buk," Higgins explained.

The prosecution in the case of the crash of flight MH17 said in court that two Buk missile systems were sent to Ukraine from Russia in 2014, but one of them broke down on its way.

On March 9 and 10, court hearings were held in the Netherlands in the case of the downed flight MH17.

Four suspects in downing of the MH17 passenger plane face life imprisonment. After the first two days of the trial hearings, the trial was adjourned until March 23.

On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down near the city of Shakhtarsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. All crew members and passengers were killed, a total of 298 people, including 80 children.

At a press conference in The Hague in May 2018, nearly four years later, the JIT presented fragments of the missile used to shoot down the plane. The Buk system from which the missile was fired belonged to the 53rd anti-air missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, which is based in Kursk.

In June 2019, the JIT released the names of four suspects in the MH17 case: The three Russian citizens Sergey “Gloomy” Dubinsky, Oleg “Caliph” Pulatov and Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, and the Ukrainian citizen Leonid “Mole” Kharchenko. Former DPR militant Vladimir Tsemakh was later also declared a suspect, but Ukraine handed him over to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced that the defendants are suspected of committing “a terrorist act which lead to human deaths”.

After five years of investigation, the JIT has established the exact time and route taken by the Buk anti-air missile system from Russia to Ukraine and back, the time and place where the fatal missile was fired, and obtained information about more than 150 people who were involved in the transportation of the Buk.

  MH17, Donbas, Russia, Ukraine