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Moscow Not Party to MH17 Crash Proceedings, Russian Foreign Ministry Says

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova / Go to the mediabankThe Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow
The Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow is not a party to the criminal process in the case of the MH17 flight crash, which takes place in the Netherlands, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, commenting on this week's hearings on the case.

"I want to remind you our principled position: Russia is not a party to the criminal proceedings conducted by the District Court of The Hague. The charges were brought against three citizens of Russia — Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, so we watch his progress in terms of respect for their legal rights", Zakharova said at a briefing in response to a request to comment on the hearings.

The statement by the Dutch investigation that Russia is trying to 'manipulate' evidence in the case is a lie, she said.

"Dutch prosecutor Thiis Berger recently stated that the model of missile that had hit the MH17 had been allegedly determined. This conclusion was made on the basis of distant similarity of the I-beam, the so-called butterfly wings, only two of the 370 fragments found, although the materials of the Dutch technical investigation clearly indicate that there should be about a quarter of the total, or about 100 such fragments", Zakharova said.

The spokeswoman emphasized that not a single I-shaped hole was found in the airplane’s hull, and the fragments themselves were discovered "under dubious circumstances."

"Finally, two years later, the prosecution recalled the materials submitted by Russia. They prove the Ukrainian origin of the missile, which, according to the investigating group itself, hit the MH17 flight. Nevertheless, the prosecutors claim — they do it without evidence — that the Russian data 'were manipulated and rigged.' It’s a lie. Another lie. After all, they were invited to visit Russia, to see the authenticity of the logbooks with their own eyes, but the investigators somehow cooled off right away. They neither expressed their desire to come, nor sent any additional requests", Zakharova said.

A new block of MH17 hearings began on 8 June. The trial itself began on 9 March.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014, in eastern Ukraine on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 people aboard, mostly Dutch citizens, died. The accident was investigated by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The four suspects in the case are Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko.

Russia, which conducted its own investigation after being denied access to the JIT's probe, said it had given the Dutch team evidence, such as radar data, proving the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile. Dutch prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse said the Russian evidence had been taken into account during the investigation.

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