UK urges Russia to take responsibility for MH17 downing
LONDON (AA): Britain on Wednesday reiterated its support to demands from the Russian government to “accept state responsibility for the downing of flight MH17”.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt paid tribute to the victims on the fifth anniversary of the downing of the Malaysian airplane in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Hunt has announced that the U.K. will “provide financial support to the specialist criminal court in the Hague,” and the U.K. will continue its support to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the Dutch National Prosecutor “after their recent decision to charge four suspects with shooting down MH17 and the murder of the 298 people on board,” according to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office statement.
Describing the incident “a terrible tragedy”, Hunt said: “We are making a financial contribution of £100,000 [$125,000] to the establishment of the specialist criminal court in the Hague to help ensure that the families and friends of the victims receive answers, and that those responsible are held to account for this appalling crime.”
“We continue to support Australia and the Netherlands in their call on the Russian government to accept state responsibility for the downing of flight MH17,” Hunt said.
“It is high time Russia cooperated fully with the prosecution and, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2166, provided any assistance requested,” he added.
Last month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied allegations of military involvement in the downing of the 2014 incident.
The accusations against Russian military provoke “nothing but regret,” said the ministry.
“Once again, the Russian side is being subjected to absolutely unfounded accusations aimed at discrediting the Russian Federation in the eyes of the international community,” it said in a statement.
The JIT announced Wednesday three Russians and one Ukrainian suspect will face trial for shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
The flight departed July 17, 2014, from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but was shot down before crashing near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Russian border.
A total of 298 people, including 15 crew, were killed in the crash.
The Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine are part of the investigation team.
Eastern Ukraine has been wracked by conflict after Russia’s annexation of the peninsula in 2014. Pro-Russian separatists living in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared independence in a move not recognized by the international community, including Turkey.
The JIT has claimed a BUK TELAR missile was used to down the Malaysian airplane.
According to the JIT report, the missile originated from the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade — a unit of the Russian army near the Ukraine border in the Russian Federation.