Investigators officially accuse 4 pro-Russian military officers of missile attack that shot down MH17

The reconstructed wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Kooren

Thomson Reuters

Reconstructed wreckage of the MH17 airplane at Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, in October 2015.

  • International investigators from the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) four pro-Russian military intelligence officers of being involved in a missile attack that shot down the MH17.
  • MH17 crashed in a war-torn region of eastern Ukraine that had been held by Russian-backed rebels fighting to break away from Ukraine.
  • The JIT has long suspected the Russian military of carrying out the attack. Moscow has long denied its involvement.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

International investigators from the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) have accused four pro-Russian military intelligence officers of being involved in a missile attack that shot down the MH17.

Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov, and Leonid Kharchenko all worked for the military intelligence agency (GRU) of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic at the time of the attack, investigators said. The Donetsk People's Republic of the GRU is not linked Russia's GRU, which is also a military intelligence agency.

The suspects will be tried in Dutch criminal court, investigators said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in a field in war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, after being hit by a Russian-made Buk missile.

The plane, a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, went down with 298 people on board. There were no survivors.

The crash site was outside the city of Donetsk, which was held by Russian-backed rebels fighting to break away from the state of Ukraine.

Flight MH17 Ukraine Russia airplane shot down

Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Ukrainian emergency workers carry a body bag near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, in July 2014.

International investigators have long suspected Russian-backed separatists of carrying out the attack.

In a preliminary report published last May, the Dutch-led MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said the missile came from the Russian military's 53rd antiaircraft missile brigade based in Kursk, a city near the Russia-Ukraine border.

They cited distinctive identifying marks on recovered missile fragments in support of their conclusion.

Read more: Investigators have for the first time directly linked the Russian military to the attack on Flight MH17

mh17 buk missile fragment

Dutch National Police/YouTube

Missile fragments from the Buk missile that downed MH17.

Russia has repeatedly denied its involvement in the attack.

The country's defense ministry said last September it had evidence the missile was actually fired by Ukrainian forces, and that the joint investigative report in May was "factually inaccurate on several points."

Earlier on Wednesday, open-source investigators at for the website Bellingcat also published a report naming 12 Russian and Ukrainian nationals who they said "had a role in organizing or facilitating the transport of the Buk missile launcher" that shot down MH17.

Bellingcat said identified those people through intercepted phone conversations that discussed the Buk missile.

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