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Life sentences in Malaysia Airlines plane trial a signal for Putin

The court convicted on Thursday two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian for their role in the destruction of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Jerry Lampen/PAP/EPA

The sentencing by a Dutch court of three men for their role in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines aircraft with a Russian surface-to-air missile, is a signal to Putin that the West brings criminals to justice, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

The court convicted on Thursday two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian for their role in the destruction of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

All 298 people on board were killed.

“The verdict issued by the court in The Hague… is maybe a signal to Vladimir Putin and others like him that the West has been changing its behaviour, and that it has been handing out jail sentences to criminals,” Łukasz Jasina told Polish public radio programme on Thursday.

The three were former Russian intelligence agents Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy, and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian separatist leader. They were sentenced to life in prison in absentia.

Jasina said that a life sentence for homicide was not “surprising.”

Russia on Thursday called the court’s decision “scandalous” and said the proceedings had not been impartial.


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