Russia ‘was linked’ to Ukrainian rebels
INVESTIGATORS’ CLAIM OVER MH17
AN international team of investigators piecing together a criminal case over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine say evidence suggests links between Russia and separatists in the region were closer than previously believed.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) issued a fresh appeal for witnesses as it revealed details of secure communications between Russian officials and rebels in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) rebel group in eastern Ukraine.
In June, the investigators announced that they had charged four people, including three Russians, with murder over their alleged roles in the downing of Flight MH17 in July 2014.
All 298 passengers and crew on board the flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur were killed.
Investigators say their probe has revealed that “Russian influence on the DPR went beyond military support”.
“The JIT has information that indicates that the influence of the Russian Federation extended to administrative, financial and military matters in the DPR,” the team said in a statement, adding that contacts between Russia and the rebels intensified in the first half of July 2014.
“There was almost daily telephone contact between the leadership of the DPR and their contacts in the Russian Federation.”