CM – Families of MH17 victims accuse Russia of « lying »

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Relatives of the 298 victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on Monday accused Russia of lying about its alleged role in the downing of the plane when they testified against four suspects in the Dutch murder trial.

International investigators came to this Conclusion that the passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a missile fired by pro-Russian rebels. Moscow denies any responsibility.

« They lie, we know they lie, and they know that we know they lie, » said Ria van der Steen, who lost her father and stepmother on the flight , told the court, and said she was quoting the late Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

The Dutch woman was the first of dozens of relatives to have the opportunity to speak or make written statements over the next three weeks.

MH17 flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a Russian surface-to-air missile that, according to international investigators and prosecutors, came from a Russian base just beyond the Ukrainian border.

Van der Steen made the remarks about that Lies in Russian and stated that she did this « for the benefit of those who are listening today on behalf of the Russian regime ».

« I want it to be known that I know where the responsibility lies » she agitated, adding that « Lies and falsehoods are a familiar tactic in this cat-and-mouse game we try to uncover the truth ». Australian Vanessa Rizk also referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government as part of the « political nightmare » that led to the crash.

« I still can’t imagine our family falling into a frustrating and deadly political crisis, » said Rizk, who was involved in the accident had lost both of her parents at the age of 22, via video link in front of the judges. She stressed that her parents played no role in the politics that led to her death.

Russia, which claims it did not fund or support rebels fighting against Ukrainian government forces, has refused to extradite the suspects .

Three Russians and a Ukrainian citizen, all suspected of playing key roles in the separatists, are on trial for murder.

After years of gathering evidence, a team of international investigators concluded in May 2018 that that the carrier used to fire the missile belonged to the 53rd Russian anti-aircraft brigade.

The fugitive suspects have been on trial for a year and a half. Only one lawyer was posted to represent him, so the case will not be considered full absenteeism under Dutch law.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and will be published via a syndicated feed .)

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