An international team of investigators have found that Vladimir Putin personally decided to provide the missile that downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.
Vladimir Putin made the decision
A report published today Wednesday 8 February by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) revealed that it was Putin himself who signed off on the decision to provide the missile system that was used to shoot down the plane:
The investigation produced strong indications that a decision on providing the Buk Telar – or in any event a heavier air defence system with a higher range – to the Donetsk People’s Republic was taken at the presidential level
There is concrete information that the separatists’ request was presented to the president, and that this request was granted.
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Vladimir Putin remains immune to prosecution
However, JIT warned that their evidence was not sufficient to warrant prosecution:
Although we speak of strong indications, the high bar of complete and conclusive evidence is not reached
The president of the Russian Federation, as head of state, is in any event immune under international law from prosecution.
In addition, the team said they were still unable to prove the identities of the missile’s crew members and chain of command.
The JIT consists of members from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine – the countries most impacted by the downing of MH17.
Dutch prosecutor, Digna van Boetzelaer, stated that due to a lack of cooperation from Russia, ‘the investigation has now reached its limit. All leads have been exhausted.‘
Investigation ‘will not stop’
Despite this, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte wrote in a statement posted on Twitter that the team said ‘today’s announcement does not mean the end of the criminal justice process’.
Rutte condemned the ‘pattern of of obstruction, untruths, and injustice from Russia and its President, Putin.‘ He declared:
We will not stop… We will continue to call the Russian Federation to account for its role in this tragedy.
– The Guardian: ‘MH17: ‘strong indications’ Putin signed off on supplying missile that hit plane’
– BBC: ‘MH17: Putin supplied missile that downed plane – investigators’