Bereaved MH17 Call on Russian Military: ‘Give Us Answers’

The team investigating the downing of flight MH17 has called on Russian military personnel to share information for a follow-up investigation into the crew of and decision-making around the deployment of the missile installation with which the aircraft would have been shot. The Dutch police, coordinating the action, made the call in a letter to residents of the Russian city of Kursk. According to the research team, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), the so-called Buk-TELAR comes from there. โ€œWe want someone to take responsibility for what happened,โ€ next of kin say.

The JIT is looking for photos, videos, emails and official documents that can help the investigation further. The follow-up study is โ€œadvanced,โ€ according to the JIT, โ€œbut not yet complete.โ€ The research team wants to know who decided that the weapons system was deployed in Ukraine and who the crew was. The JIT believes the Buk-TELAR was delivered by the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade from Kursk.

Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, after the aircraft was allegedly hit by a missile. All 298 occupants were killed in the process. Among them were nearly two hundred Dutch people. The plane was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Schiphol.

Group of suspects

In March last year, the criminal case against four suspects who, according to the Prosecutors Office, are responsible for obtaining the Buk-TELAR, for their fight in eastern Ukraine and for shooting flight MH17. The new call for information was not made in the context of this case, but for the follow-up investigation.

โ€œWe want to know who formed the crew, what their assignment was and from whom the assignment came from,โ€ says Andy Collar, head of National Investigations of the Dutch Police. โ€œWe also want to know who decided that the weapon would be deployed in Ukraine. And most of all we want to know why they took down that passenger plane. How could it happen that 298 innocent civilians were shot out of the sky? We can only say something about this with certainty if the directly involved clarifies.โ€

The police have posted two videos on the website in which a Dutch former military and Australian bereaved members tell us how important it is that there are answers to outstanding questions. โ€œWe really need to know what happened to our son Victor. To get through, we want to know the truth. We want someone to take responsibility for what happened,โ€ said the parents of one of the passengers killed.

The criminal case against the four suspects continues on Monday 6 September, in the Schiphol court. The court has set aside three weeks for the right to speak for the next of kin. About ninety of them will make use of that.