Five years ago today (July 17) Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot out of the sky over Ukraine resulting in the deaths of 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has paid tribute to the victims by announcing that the UK will provide financial support to the specialist criminal court in the Hague that is undertaking the investigation, the largest in Dutch history.
The UK will continue to offer its support to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the Dutch National Prosecutor after their recent decision to charge four suspects with shooting down MH17 and the murder of the 298 people on board. The government will provide financial support for the establishment of a specialist criminal court at the Hague which will hear the trial of the four suspects.
The plane was on a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur when it was shot down with a surface-to-air missile over the then highly contested region of Donetsk Oblast near the Ukrainian-Russian border. Russian backed separatist groups in the area had been supplied with the missile systems before the incident and had shot down a number of Ukrainian jets and troop transports in the days leading up to the downing of the aircraft. Although findings by multiple reports indicate with utmost certainty that the flight was shot down by Russian missiles, falsified reports and evidence have been put forward by Moscow in an attempt to back a counter-narrative which sees Ukraine shooting down the plane instead.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the UK would contribute £100,000 to the establishment of the specialist criminal court in the Hague which will work to ensure that the families and friends of victims receive answers, and to hold those who are responsible to account for this appalling crime.
“A terrible tragedy took place five years ago today when flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. 298 innocent people, including 10 British people, lost their lives. I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who died.”
“We continue to support Australia and the Netherlands in their call on the Russian government to accept state responsibility for the downing of flight MH17. It is high time Russia cooperated fully with the prosecution and, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2166, provided any assistance requested.”