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19 Jul 2019 17:45
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  •   Home > News > International

    MH17 investigation: What we know about the suspects

    Authorities have named four men they allege were involved in the downing of flight MH17. Here is a snapshot of the details that have emerged during an investigation into their activities.

    Investigators have identified four men they say were involved in the downing of flight MH17.

    The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was travelling over territory in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russia separatists in July 2014 when it was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile.

    The Joint Investigations Team and a report by Bellingcat have now identified three Russians — Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Poelatov — and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko as suspects.

    They will be prosecuted by Dutch authorities in March next year.

    Here's a snapshot of what we know about them.

    Igor Girkin

    Call sign: Strelok

    Also know as Igor Strelkov, in 2014 he was in charge of the bulk of the separatist forces known as the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR).

    He is believed to be the only person with BUK vehicles under his command and had been given 3,000 – 3,500 assault rifles that had been sent from Russia.

    A recorded conversation suggests he was aware of the removal of the BUK missile launcher from separatist territory after MH17 was shot down.

    Sergei Dubinsky

    Call sign: Khmury

    A former Russian military intelligence officer, Mr Girkin's deputy and another leader of separatist forces, Mr Dubinsky headed the DNR's intelligence arm.

    He is thought to have been central to arranging for the BUK launcher to be taken the site where the missile was fired at MH17, but he was not there when it was launched.

    He is now living in Russia and is thought to be unlikely to face justice.

    Oleg Poelatov

    Call sign: Gyurza, Khalif

    A veteran of the Afghan and Chechen wars and a Russian citizen, he held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Russian Armed Forces.

    He was the head of reconnaissance and special operations in Mr Dubinsky's intelligence division.

    He arrived at the MH17 crash site soon after the plane went down and claims to have found the aircraft's black box and removed it to take to authorities.

    Leonid Kharchenko

    Call sign: Krot

    Kharchenko was involved in the separatist movement early on and led the militia in his hometown of Kostyantynivka, in eastern Ukraine.

    A subordinate of Poelatov and Dubinsky, he is believed to have been involved in sending the BUK launcher to Russia.


    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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