"The downing of Flight #MH17 was a tragedy. Vital that we establish truth & bring those responsible to justice. @CourtMH17 trial is an important milestone in this process & EU has full confidence in its procedures. All States must cooperate fully w/ ongoing @JITMH17 investigation", Borrell wrote on Twitter.
The news comes a day after the Office of the Russian Prosecutor General said that the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which does not include Russia, had ignored the significant amount of information that Moscow provided to the Netherlands, showing "a biased approach to Russia and its attempts to make clear the true circumstances of the crash".
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 as the self-proclaimed republics in the region were engulfed in an armed conflict with the new government following a coup earlier that year. As a result, all 298 passengers – mostly Dutch – and crew on board were killed in the crash.
Following the tragedy, Kiev and the republics blamed each other for the downing, with the latter contending that they had no military equipment that would allow them to shoot down an aircraft at that altitude.
Almost immediately after the incident, the US and its European allies claimed, without presenting any evidence, that Russia had provided the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) militia with the weaponry that was used to down the aircraft.
These allegations were used by Washington and Brussels as a pretext to introduce sanctions against Moscow.
Shortly thereafter, the Netherlands set up a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) to probe the MH17 case, having, however, left out Russia from the process despite its consistent offers to assist in the investigation.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations and even provided vast amounts of data such as radar feeds from the area of the crash and info on the Buk 9M38-series air defence system showing that it couldn't have been used to down the plane, but this information was ignored by the JIT.
In 2018, the JIT released a report claiming that the missile that shot down MH17 was launched by DPR forces and that the Buk launcher had been delivered from Russia. Moscow stated that the probe was politically motivated, pointing out that the team had based its claims on unverified social media photos and videos, as well as assertions by the Ukrainian government.
The prime minister of Malaysia, which lost 43 people in the tragedy, also criticised the results of the investigation, which he called "politicised".
In the final report, published on 18 June 2019, the JIT accused three Russians and one Ukrainian of being responsible for the downing, issuing international arrest warrants for them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the report for failing to address "a lot of questions" that remained unanswered, adding that the JIT did not plan to investigate the tragedy but to "appoint perpetrators" instead.