Former Russian Army officer Oleg Pulatov headed a unit of the Main Intelligence Directorate in a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists i 2014. (file photo).
One of four defendants in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine in 2014 declared his innocence in a video aired on June 10 in the courtroom in the Netherlands where he and three other defendants were being tried in absentia.
Russian suspect Oleg Pulatov, a former officer of the Russian Army, headed a unit of the Main Intelligence Directorate in a region of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists in 2014.
Pulatov was involved in the transport and protection of a Buk antiaircraft missile system, which investigators say fired the rocket that brought down the passenger jet. The evidence includes intercepts of telephone conversations involving Russian-backed separatists, according to prosecutors.
Pulatov, the only defendant who was represented by lawyers at the trial, addressed the judges in the video, telling them he was not guilty.
"I have nothing to do with the flight crash on July 17, 2014," he said.
Pulatov also said that separatists did not have a Buk missile system, at least not in his area of responsibility. He added that he did not contact anyone in Russia and did not ask for such a weapon.
The trial concluded on June 10. The court has said a verdict is expected in November at the earliest.
The trial took place in a courthouse close to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam from which flight MH17 took off. The other three defendants are Russians Sergei Dubinsky and Igor Girkin as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko.
Prosecutors have requested life sentences for the men on charges connected with the downing of the jet, which killed 298 people. The flight was en route to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down.