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Flight MH17 shot down in Ukraine | Australia accuses Putin of ‘protecting murderers’

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(Sydney) Australia’s foreign minister on Friday urged Russia to hand over the three men, including two Russians, convicted in the Netherlands on Thursday of shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in 2014 .

Penny Wong also challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of “protecting murderers”.

A Dutch court on Thursday sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment the Russians Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and the Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko. They were found guilty of murder and of having played a role in the destruction of the aircraft after a trial that lasted two and a half years.

The crash of the Boeing 777, which linked Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killed the 298 people – including 196 Dutch, 43 Malaysians and 38 Australians – who were on board. It was hit over eastern Ukraine, held by pro-Russian separatists, by what the prosecution said was a missile supplied by Moscow.


PHOTO MAXIM ZMEYEV, REUTERS

The Boeing 777 crash killed all 298 people in 2014.

According to the Australian minister, who was speaking to journalists, the verdict confirms that “the Russian Federation has a responsibility”.

“We call on Russia to hand over these convicts to serve the court sentence for their hate crimes,” said Mr.me Wong. “No amount of evasion, evasion or disinformation on the part of the Russian Federation can dismiss this fact”.

Moscow’s refusal to hand over these men constitutes, according to her, a flagrant proof of the personality of Mr. Putin: “We tell Russia that the world knows that you protect murderers and that gives an indication of who you are Mr. Putin,” she later told ABC.

Russia, which has categorically rejected any responsibility since the tragedy, denounced a “political” decision after the conviction in the Netherlands.

“The course and the result of the legal proceedings indicate that (the decision) is based on a political order”, reacted the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.

“Throughout the proceedings, the court found itself under unprecedented pressure from Dutch politicians, representatives of the prosecution and the media, who imposed a politically motivated outcome to the trial,” denounced Russian diplomacy.



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