02:18 GMT22 June 2021
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    The upcoming statements will mark the end of procedural hearings and the beginning of the trial itself.

    Sputnik is live from Badhoevedorp, Netherlands, where prosecutors are making opening statements in the trial of four people charged with the downing of flight MH17 at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS), which will mark the end of procedural hearings that started in March 2020.

    Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014, in eastern Ukraine while on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard, mostly Dutch citizens. Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine's east have exchanged blame for downing the plane. Subsequently, the Netherlands set up a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) to inquire into the MH17 case.

    The MH17 court accused Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, for their actions, which, according to JIT, led to the downing of the ill-fated Boeing.

    Russia was never part of the investigation, although it provided radar data, BUK missile manufacturer specifications and test results, as well as other technical information, the majority of which, according to the country’s foreign ministry, continues to be ignored by the Dutch.

    In May last year, Russian diplomats also criticised the Dutch authorities for a lack of transparency, as, according to Moscow, the Hague concealed important information, which may shed light on the circumstances surrounding the MH17 crash.

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    Tags:
    hearings, MH17 crash, trial, Netherlands
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