MH17 trial: New recordings of telephone calls of defendants made public.

New recordings of telephone calls of four defendants have been made public at today's court hearing on the merits in the MH17 criminal proceedings in the Netherlands.

As an Ukrinform correspondent in The Hague informs, defendant Sergey Dubinskiy in a conversation with a man, who went by nickname Boatswain, which took place at 17:42 on July 17, 2014, said that a Su plane was managed to be shot down as militants had received Buk-M missile system. Dubinskiy also said that "after receiving Buk-M in the morning, it became easier for them to conduct military operations."

In a conversation between Dubinskiy and another man, Igor, which took place at 18:20, it was said that journalists reported a Boeing to be shot down 80 km of Donetsk. At first, Dubinskiy thought it was a Su plane that was mistaken for a Boeing. However, when it becomes clear that a passenger plane was shot down, the militants started to say that the Su plane shot down the Boeing, and they had downed the Su plane.

Another defendant, Leonid Kharchenko, talks on the phone with soldier Gilazov at 21:32 on July 17, 2014, saying that a fighter from the Buk crew got lost.

Kharchenko's conversation with defendant Oleg Pulatov, which took place at 21:40 on the day of the tragedy, refers to the crew of the Buk system installation.

A fragment of conversation between Igor Girkin and Dubinskiy, which took place the morning after the tragedy, was presented in the courtroom. In particular, Dubinskiy says that Buk is already in Russia: "A machine has been in Russia for a while now."

The video and maps of the transportation of the Buk missile system were presented in great detail at the hearing.

Judge Dagmar Koster, who read out the case details, reiterated that all published files were the result of the investigation, and the court would express its opinion only after the hearings on the merits were completed.

As reported, the District Court of The Hague continues to consider the issues of weapons from which the MH17 Flight was shot down, a place where the missile was launched, as well as the role of the four defendants in the terrorist attack.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over occupied area of Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. All of them died. The international Joint Investigation Team reported that the plane had been shot down from a Buk missile system that belonged to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.

On June 19, 2019, the JIT named four suspects believed to be involved in the transportation and combat use of the Buk missile system, from which MH17 flight had been downed. Three of them are Russians: Igor Girkin (Strelkov), former colonel in Russia's FSB intelligence service and former so-called defense minister of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic"; Sergey Dubinskiy, general (at the time of downing – colonel) of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and head of the so-called "Main Intelligence Directorate of the Donetsk People’s Republic"; Oleg Pulatov, lieutenant colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The fourth suspect is Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian civilian, who fought on the side of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic.

In March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the consideration of the case over the downing of Flight MH17 in the sky over Donbas.

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