MH17 probe suggests ‘closer ties than thought’ between Russia and Ukraine rebels

MH17 probe suggests ‘closer ties than thought’ between Russia and Ukraine rebels

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 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.

Friends and family of victims of the MH17 plane crash at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the tragedy (Vincent Thian/AP)
Friends and family of victims of the MH17 plane crash at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the tragedy (Vincent Thian/AP)

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”.

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