AviationHigh-ranking GRU officer linked to downing of MH17

A new report from a British investigative group, establishes, for the first , the involvement of a high-ranking Russian military intelligence officer in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over eastern in 2014. The 25 May report comes a day after the Dutch-led international Joint Investigative Team (JIT) said it had concluded the Buk missile that downed the MH17 was fired by Russia’s 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.

Researchers from the British-based group Bellingcat have published a report that, for the first time, establishes what they say is the involvement of a high-ranking Russian military intelligence officer in connection with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The 25 May report comes a day after the Dutch-led international Joint Investigative Team (JIT) said it had concluded the Buk missile that downed the MH17 was fired by Russia’s 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government said on 25 May that the Netherlands and Australia will hold Russia legally responsible for shooting down MH17 and the deaths of all 298 people on board.

“The government is now taking the next step by formally holding Russia accountable,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said, adding that holding a nation-state responsible for a of international law would involve “a complex legal process.”

Blok called on Russia to “accept its responsibility and cooperate fully with the process to establish the truth and achieve justice for the victims of flight MH17 and their next of kin.”

But despite mounting evidence of Russian involvement, Moscow continues to deny having anything to do with the downing of the civilian passenger plane.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to Blok’s call by accusing the Netherlands of speculation to “achieve political goals.”

The Kremlin also insists it has not intervened to support pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, despite compelling evidence that Moscow has provided military, economic, and political support for the separatists in their war against Ukrainian government forces.

“Orion” Calling
But Bellingcat said on 25 May it had “identified conclusively” that 50-year-old Russian military officer Oleg Ivannikov was in charge of military operations in eastern Ukraine when the MH17 was shot down over separatist-controlled territory on 17 July 2014.



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