The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was flying over Ukraine in 2014 was bombed by two Russians and a Ukrainian national according to a Dutch court ruling passed on Thursday.
Russians Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko were found guilty of murder and intentionally causing an aircraft to crash, while Russian Oleg Pulatov was acquitted, head judge Hendrik Steenhuis said.
The three found guilty by the court were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment and were ordered to pay 16 million euros in compensation to the families of the victims.
A Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a missile during a flight from Amsterdam to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur as it passed over eastern Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas region.
The attack, according to the investigation, was carried out using a Russian-supplied Buk missile system — killed all 298 passengers and crew onboard, including 80 children.
Among the victims of the attack were citizens of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, the U.K., and Australia.
The debris of the plane was found near the village of Grabove in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
The international Joint Investigative Team identified Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko as the key suspects in the attack.
Girkin — more widely known under his alias Igor Strelkov — is the most high-profile of the four.
Identified as a former FSB officer and likely a key mastermind behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Girkin appointed himself Minister of Defense of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk People’s Republic at the time of the tragedy.
Together with Dubinsky, who held a high-ranking military position in the separatist region, Girkin was found to be responsible for the transportation of the Buk missile system from Russia to the site from which the launch took place.
Kharchenko was found to have overseen the safety of the missile system after its delivery and installation, while Pulatov was acquitted.
The three men who were convicted by the court are believed to be in Russia or the occupied Ukrainian territories at present.
Though all three are subject to international arrest warrants, the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of its own nationals to another state.