Trial opened for 4 men in the Netherlands in a criminal case surrounding the murder of 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot downed over Ukraine in 2014.
According to Press TV, the men, three Russians and a Ukrainian, who are still at large, had allegedly involved in the downing of the Boeing 777 that was en route from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur in July 2014.
All 298 passengers and the crew — citizens of 10 different countries — on board the plane were killed.
Head Judge Hendrik Steenhuis declared the trial open at the high-security court near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
The judge said that there had been a “tragic loss of human lives from all around the world” in the incident.
An investigation team claimed in May 2018 that a BUK anti-aircraft missile that brought the plane down originated from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian Armed Forces. Moscow strongly rejected the claims, describing the allegations as “absolutely threadbare.”
International arrest warrants have been issued for the suspects, who were charged in June 2019 with murder over the incident.
If convicted, the four men could face sentences of up to life in prison.
The downing took place at the height of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which pits Kiev’s military against pro-Moscow forces in the mainly Russian-speaking regions.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow, however, denies the allegations.