An international team of investigators said Wednesday it found “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of heavy anti-aircraft weapons to Ukrainian separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 with a Russian missile.
However, members of the Joint Investigation Team said they had insufficient evidence to prosecute Putin or any other suspects. They have suspended their eight-and-a-half-year inquiry into the shooting down of the plane that killed all 298 people onboard, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Russia denies responsibility
Russia has always denied any involvement in the downing of the flight over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 and refused to cooperate with the international investigation.
Dutch prosecutors said “there are strong indications that the Russian president decided on supplying” a Buk missile system to Ukrainian separatists.
“Although we speak of strong indications, the high bar of complete and conclusive evidence is not reached,” Dutch prosecutor Digna van Boetzelaer said, adding that without Russian cooperation, “the investigation has now reached its limit.
“All leads have been exhausted.”
She also said that Putin, as head of state, would have immunity from prosecution in the Netherlands. The team played a recording of an intercepted phone call in which they said the president could be heard discussing the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“Are we disappointed? No, because we think we came further than we had ever thought in 2014,” Andy Kraag from the Dutch police said.
“Would we have liked to come further? Of course, yes.”
For more watch Euronews’ report in the video above.