On Wednesday, June 19, the Joint Investigative Team (JIT), a Dutch-led international team of investigators, announced criminal proceedings would be launched against four individuals suspected in the July 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, killing all 298 people on board.
The suspects – three Russian citizens and one Ukrainian – are accused of playing a role in downing the civilian airliner, which was flying over territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine en-route to Malaysia from the Netherlands.
In May 2018, the Joint Investigative Team concluded that MH17 was shot down by a BUK-M1 missile launcher belonging to the Russian armed forces -- specifically, the 53rd Air Defense Brigade, based in Kursk, Russia.
Dutch police noted at that time: "All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces.”
The Netherlands and Australia (which lost 38 citizens in the tragedy) announced Moscow was being held legally responsible for the attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the time called the downing of MH17 a "terrible tragedy," before casting doubt on the investigation and noting that “several versions” of events had been put forward to explain what happened to the passenger airliner.