Australia imposes sanctions on three men over downing of Flight MH17

  • World
  • Saturday, 24 Jun 2023

People place flowers and toys at a memorial to victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane crash during a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the accident near the village of Hrabove in Donetsk Region, Ukraine July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia has imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on three men involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Ukraine in 2014, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Saturday.

MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile system as it flew over eastern Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew, including 196 Dutch citizens and 38 Australian citizens or residents.

In November, a Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader in absentia of murder for their role in the incident, and handed them life sentences.

Wong said the sanctions announced Saturday targeted Sergey Dubinskiy and Leonid Kharchenko, two of those convicted by the Dutch court last year.

The third man targeted was Sergey Muchkaev, a colonel with the Russian Armed Forces who commanded the brigade that supplied the missile system responsible for downing the plane, Wong said.

She said Australia had already sanctioned another man convicted over the plane's downing, Igor Girkin, for his involvement in supporting separatism in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

"These sanctions demonstrate the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to hold to account those responsible for the downing of Flight MH17," Wong said in a statement.

"Australia is steadfast in our commitment to seek truth, justice and accountability for the victims of the downing of Flight MH17."

In February, Australia acknowledged a decision by international prosecutors to suspend their probe into MH17 after finding "strong indications" Russian President Vladimir Putin approved use of the missile system that shot down the plane.

However, the prosecutors said evidence of Putin's and other Russian officials' involvement was not conclusive enough to lead to a criminal conviction.

(Reporting by Sam McKeith; Editing by William Mallard)

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