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MH17 Witness Appeal and Trial Information June 2019

On July 17, 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Eastern Ukraine. As a result, 298 passengers and crew members died. The investigation by the international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) led to the conclusion that the plane was shot down by a BUK TELAR, originating from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile Brigade from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On June 19, 2019 the Public Prosecution Service of the Netherlands announced four suspects will be prosecuted for their involvement in the downing of flight MH17. The trial will start on the 9th of March 2020 at 10.00 AM before the District Court of The Hague, which will conduct the hearings at the Schiphol Judicial Complex. The investigation does not end here. More persons are involved in the downing of flight MH17. The investigation will continue to focus on the crew of the BUK TELAR and on persons who were an important link in the decision-making in the Russian Federation on military support to eastern-Ukraine in 2014. The JIT is calling for witnesses who have more information about these persons and their roles to come forward.

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Contact the JIT

We are putting great effort into finding the truth about the crash of MH17. The JIT is especially looking for insider and/or eye witnesses, who can tell us more about the role that different persons have played in the downing of flight MH17, the instruction that was given and the command structure. If you have any information, please contact us. We will handle your information with ultimate care.
JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.

Witnesses and suspects can contact the JIT via:

  • E-mail address contact@jitmh17.com
  • Phone number: 0800-300014 (free from Ukraine) or 0031-886624600
    (Dutch phone number, local rate).
  •  WhatsApp: call or text 0031-683559290.
  • For uploading photographic or video material.

We prefer WhatsApp calls over phonecalls.

Trial information

Four suspects, Igor Vsevolodovich GIRKIN, Sergey Nikolayevich DUBINSKIY, Oleg  Yuldashevich PULATOV and Leonid Volodymyrovych KHARCHENKO, will be prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the downing of flight MH17. The criminal proceedings will take place before the district court in The Hague, to be held in the Schiphol Judicial Complex (address: Duizendbladweg 100, Badhoevedorp,The Netherlands). The first court session will be held on March 9, 2020, from 10:00 AM (Central European Time). An explanation of the legal proceedings can be found here.

Witness appeal June 2019: BUK TELAR crew

Telephone intercepts

In 2015, the JIT released an intercept of a telephone conversation in which suspect Dubinsky asks if ‘it’ has come with a crew. Apparently, ‘it’ refers to the BUK TELAR which belonged to the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile Brigade from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

Based on this conversation, and other information, it can be assumed that both the BUK TELAR and its crew came from the Russian Federation. That same day, July 17, 2014, a conversation between suspect Kharchenko (‘A’) and a certain ‘Ryazan’ (‘B’) was intercepted. Ryazan calls Kharchenko ‘commander’. This conversation was released earlier by the JIT in 2015. 

Apparently, one of the crew members of the BUK TELAR that shot down MH17 lost contact with the rest of the crew. The JIT would like to know who that crew member is. These telephone conversations do not demonstrate to which unit this crew belongs. The JIT does have evidence from other sources that at that time, Russian soldiers of the 53rd Brigade from Kursk were present near the border with Eastern Ukraine.

The JIT would like to know:

  • Who was the crew member that got lost shortly after the downing of MH17?
  • Who has information that may lead the JIT to his identity?

Social media chat

Many soldiers were active on social media. In the JIT-presentation of June 19, 2019 (NLand ENG) a chat from 2015 was shown in which a soldier (‘soldier M’) of the 2nd battalion of the 53rd Brigade takes part. This soldier was part of the convoy that departed on  June 23, 2014 from the base of the 53rd Brigade in Kursk and headed towards Millerovo, in the Russian Federation. This convoy also included the BUK TELAR with the numbers 3 and 2 on the side.

Soldier M is chatting to a certain ‘Anastasia’.

On the basis of this conversation it can be assumed that soldier M was in the second battalion and travelled along with certain ‘cool guys’ and a first lieutenant from the 3rd battalion of the 53rd Brigade. The BUK TELAR that was used to shoot down MH17 originated from the 3rd battalion of the 53rd Brigade. M cannot reveal where the ‘cool guys’ from the third battalion went, because it is a secret. He does however say they went to the West.
The JIT would like to get in touch with the first lieutenant, who now is a captain. His name has been made unrecognisable here, but the JIT has information he belongs to the 53rd Brigade from Kursk. The JIT calls on this first lieutenant or other witnesses to report to the JIT in order to answer a number of questions about his role.

The JIT would like to know:

  • The JIT would like to get in touch with the first Lieutenant, who now is a captain, mentioned in the chat. The JIT knows he is an officer, belonging to the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile Brigade from Kursk.
    The JIT calls on this first lieutenant or other witnesses to report to the JIT in order to answer a number of questions about his role.

Photographs

Several photos have been posted on social media, showing soldiers of the 53rd brigade, which have been made in the summer of 2014 in a region close to eastern Ukraine. A selection of these photos are published here.   
The JIT has documents regarding the 53rd  Anti Aircraft Missile Brigade, indicating exactly which members of the 53rd Brigade were present in mid-July 2014 in the area near the Ukrainian border. In addition, the JIT has information that the military convoy that went to Millerovo with six TELARS in June 2014 returned by train to the base in Kursk with only five TELARS in September 2014. On May 24, 2018 the JIT showed evidence (ENG or RU)  the BUK TELAR that shot down flight MH17, originated from the 53rd  Brigade. Therefore, members of this Brigade might know the identity of that specific TELAR crew. The JIT would like to know whether any of the persons in the photos were in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 and whether they have any knowledge on the BUK TELAR which downed MH17 and its crew.

The JIT would like to know:

  • Were any of the persons in the photographs as published on this site in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014?
  • Do any of the persons in the photographs have information about the use of the BUK TELAR with numbers ‘3’ and the ‘2’ on the side in eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014?
  • Which soldiers were part of the BUK TELAR crew that shot down flight MH17?

If you know the answers to these questions or if you know people who can provide answers, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

Witness appeal June 2019: Chain of responsibility in the Russian Federation

It appears to be unlikely that the crew independently decided to go to Eastern Ukraine. The JIT is looking for more information about who sent them there.

Sources show that in the months prior to July 17, 2014 the leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic requested military support from the Russian Federation on several occasions. These requests were made by both by the so-called ’Prime Minister’ Aleksander Borodai, as well as by the suspect Igor Girkin, the so-called ‘Minister of Defence’. Girkin was in contact with Sergej Aksyonov, the Russian leader of Crimea, who was appointed by the Russian Federation in 2014.

On June 8, 2014, Girkin (380930721558) speaks to a staff member of Aksyonov (380962662006). He asks for military support from Russia, including a decent anti-aircraft system with trained personnel.

According to this intercepted conversation Girkin is in a hurry because he is about to lose the battle. He wants decent air defense, no ‘manpads’, that are fired from the shoulder. And he wants trained personnel because there is no time to train them. About fifteen minutes after this conversation he is called back by Aksyonov (380962662006). In that conversation, Aksyonov says that they are already arranging the required permission for the requested support.

In June and July 2014, Girkin and Borodai have frequent telephone contact with persons in the Russian Federation. During that period Borodai can be found in Moscow regularly.
On July 10, 2014, Girkin and Borodai hold a press conference in Donetsk. Borodai has just returned from Moscow and talks about his visit.

Borodai does not seem to be secretive about contacts with the Russian Federation. A few weeks earlier, Borodai had already stated in another interview with whom he was in contact in Moscow. In an interview with a Russian newspaper he mentions that Vladislav Surkov, a high official at the Russian Government, ‘is of great support to the Donetsk People's Republic’ and ‘truly our man in the Kremlin’.
One day after the press conference in Donetsk, on July 11, 2014, Borodai (79265318514) calls Surkov (79265318528). This conversation confirms talks were being held about military support between the ‘Prime Minister’ of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and a high official of the Russian Federation. The anti aircraft system that was already requested as from June 2014 appears to have actually been delivered after 11 July 2014.

The JIT would like to know:

  • Who decided to send a Russian anti-aircraft system, the BUK TELAR with the numbers ‘3’ and the ‘2’ on the side, to Ukraine?
  • Who determined which persons would be the crew members of that BUK TELAR?
  • Which instruction was given to the crew?
  • Who gave that instruction?

If you know the answers to these questions or if you know people who can provide answers, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

Reduction of Sentence for Ukrainian crimes

For those under suspicion or accused of Ukrainian crimes, there are significant incentives to providing evidence in criminal matters, such as the investigation into the downing of the Boeing (MH17). This is especially applicable to pro Russian fighters interested in leaving the conflict zone, but concerned about being charged with criminal offences arising from their participation in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Since April 2017 changes to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine allow the public prosecutor, under certain conditions, to conclude a plea agreement (a deal) with a suspect or person accused of grave (terroristic) crimes. An Agreement may result in reduced or suspended punishment.Any plea agreement depends on the level of cooperation, as well as the reliability and value of information provided about other crimes or criminals. The changes to the Code allow for agreements to be made before or during trials. All agreements need to be examined and approved by the Court.

If you have information for us or if you know people who have, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

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Hier is een YouTube-video ingesloten. Deze kan niet getoond worden omdat u geen cookies accepteert. U kunt de video ook bekijken op http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqdW3_0pPr4

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Witness safety and protection

The JIT pays serious attention to the security of witnesses. We strongly advise you that you should never reveal your actual (current) or intended assistance to the investigation to any person or agency outside of the JIT.

If you are concerned about your safety and/or the safety of your relatives/friends, various protective measures can be taken. Such as:

  • Discussions/interviews can take place in safe places in or outside your country. If travel is needed the JIT may provide assistance
  • In some cases the identity of the witness can be shielded or protected
  • In certain circumstances a witness protection program may be necessary.

​Witness protection programs:

  1. are intended to provide an environment in which the witness may give evidence without fear of retribution
  2. can protect witness identities and may include the use of assumed identities
  3. may extend to people associated or related to the witness, such as family members
  4. may include re-location and in some cases permanent re-settling in another country.

Inclusion in a witness protection program is not to be considered as a reward. It is governed by strict protocols and is on voluntary basis.
Every JIT nation has their own witness protection programs, many of which have cooperative arrangements with other nations.

If you have information for us or if you know people who have, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

Safe communication

For safe communication with us through e-mail, we advise you to do the following: 
Setup a new Gmail email account. You can do this on: https://www.gmail.com. Or preferably use public/free Wi-Fi. Often you can find free Wi-Fi spots at hotels or cafes.
For safe communication with us through phone, we advise you to do the following: 
Always use a new pre-paid phone and/or SIMcard.

More information

The criminal investigation is aimed at identifying the suspects and is conducted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Press meeting MH17 of June 19th, 2019

The meeting was streamed live and you can look back. in Dutch and English on the YouTube channel of the Netherlands Police.

During the press conference we showed four animations:

About JIT
The police and judicial authorities of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine work together with the JIT, the Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Dutch National Police. The purpose of the criminal investigation is to establish the facts, identify those responsible for the crash and to collect evidence which can be used in every court, in any country.

If you have information for us or if you know people who have, please contact the JIT. We will handle your information with ultimate care. JIT investigators are available to help you in several languages including Russian and Ukrainian.
Witnesses can contact the JIT to provide information or evidence. For those concerned about safety, refer to Witness Safety & Protection and Safe communication

Press inquiries
Journalists with police-related press inquiries about flight MH17 can contact the press office by phone: 0031 (0)6 50 088 936  or email: b.van.de.moosdijk@om.nl.

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