Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Shootdown Suspects To Be Named By Dutch Prosecutors, Russia Refuses To Cooperate

Dutch investigators last year revealed their finding, as The Washington Post reported, that a Russian military unit was responsible for the July 17, 2014, downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over a war-torn region of Ukraine — a shootdown that killed all 298 passengers and crew on board. About two-thirds of the passengers on the Boeing 777-200 were Dutch nationals, but one was an American citizen.

Now, nearly five years after the Russian Buk missile shot down the commercial flight that was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Dutch prosecutors are apparently ready to name individual suspects in the attack, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

While prosecutors said only that a June 19 press conference would cover "new developments" in the Flight MH17 case, two separate reports by Dutch broadcasters cited sources who claimed that specific individuals would be named as suspects, according to the Dutch news site NL Times.

Those suspects are likely to be Russian military personnel. As Inquisitr reported in February of 2017, the United Kingdom-based independent investigative group Bellingcat named retired Russian Major General Sergey Dubinsky as a potential suspect in the case.

Dubinsky is believed to be a high-ranking officer in Russia's military intelligence agency known as the GRU — an agency that may be familiar to Americans from the report by special counsel Robert Mueller (available online via The New York Times) which names the GRU as the Russian spy service behind the cyber-attacks on the 2016 United States presidential election.

Dutch investigators announce their MH17 findings.
Getty Images | Freek van den Bergh

But according to Reuters, the Russian government has told the Dutch investigators that Russia will not cooperate with their probe.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team, which also includes representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine, has said that even though Russia is not expected to turn over any suspects named in the course of the investigation, their trials could move forward even without the suspects present, according to a report by the Australian Daily Telegraph newspaper. There were 38 Australians on board the plane when it was shot down.

Though 19-year-old dual American and Dutch citizen Quinn Lucas Schansman was also killed in the downing of the plane, as ABC News reported, how the United States government and Donald Trump administration will respond if Russian suspects are named remains unclear.

Dubinsky, for example, has been linked to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, who is described as "the mysterious Kremlin puppet master" who was the "chief architect of Vladimir Putin's system," according to The Guardian newspaper. But Trump has been extremely reluctant, as USA Today has documented, to criticize Putin in public.