Judge reveals how many witnesses saw or heard missile launch on day of MH17 air disaster

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THE HAGUE, June 8. /TASS/. Eight people said that they saw or heard a missile launch on July 17, 2014, the day when Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, Judge Heleen Kerstens-Fockens said during court hearings on Tuesday.

“Of the 20 witnesses, 12 said that on 17 July, 2014, they saw a smoke trail. Some of them, eight to be specific, actually say that they saw a missile or an aerial object in the air, saw it or heard it, and linked that to the smoke trail,” she said.

“When the statement is made about where the trail originated [from], a number of witnesses <…> point to the south of Snizhne [Snezhnoye], and they point at the direction of the hill of Savur-Mogila, south of Snizhne [Snezhnoye], but also in the direction of the town of Pervomaisky. Pervomaisky is located between Snizhne [Snezhnoye] and the Savur-Mogila hill,” the judge added.

In her words, three out of those nine eyewitnesses said they were near the presumed launch site in a field near Pervomaisky.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing 298 people from ten countries. The Joint Investigative Team (JIT) was established in order to carry out a criminal investigation of the tragedy. In June 2019, the JIT announced that it had identified a group of four people, suspected of being involved in the incident. The trial against them began in the Netherlands on March 9, 2020. They are accused of delivering a Buk missile system from Russia to Ukraine.

Russian officials repeatedly expressed their lack of confidence in the results of the JIT’s work, and pointed out the groundlessness of the accusations, as well as the unwillingness to use Moscow’s conclusions during the investigation.