Australia calls on Russia to return immediately to MH17 talks
“The Australian Government is deeply disappointed by Russia’s decision to withdraw from the trilateral talks with the Netherlands regarding its role in the downing of MH17 on 17 July 2014. We urge Russia to return immediately to the talks,” Payne stated.
Australia remains committed to pursuing truth, justice and accountability for the 298 victims of MH17 and their loved ones, including the 38 people who called Australia home, the minister emphasized.
On October 15, Russia announced its decision to withdraw from the trilateral consultations with Australia and the Netherlands on the downing of the Malaysian Flight MH17 in Donbas. In response, Foreign Affairs of Netherlands Stef Blok said he regretted Moscow's decision.
In March 2020, the District Court of The Hague began the consideration of the case of the downing of flight MH17 in the sky over Donbas.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over conflict-hit Donbas in July 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 belongs 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."