DEN HAAG, The Netherlands ( Associated Press) – A Russian lawyer who is on trial in a Dutch court for his alleged role in the 2014 shooting of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, argued on Wednesday that prosecutors could not prove that he was not involved.
Defendant Oleg Pulatov’s legal team tried to cast doubt on the prosecutors’ case by accusing them of tunnel vision and failing to adequately investigate other possible scenarios for the shooting of MH17 on July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine.
Prosecutors say the Boeing 777 was hit by a Buk missile belonging to the Russian 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade that was driven to the launch site “on the orders of and under the direction of the suspects.” All 298 passengers and crew were killed.
“Our customer – so many are clear – is not the one who pushed the button, not the one who ordered the button to be pressed, not the one who authorized the button to be pressed and not the one who did not provide the weapon, “said defense attorney Sabine ten Doesschate.
Pulatov is the only one of four suspects charged in the crash of the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight represented by lawyers at the trial that began two years ago. None of the men – three Russians and a Ukrainian – were arrested, so they are being tried in their absence.
Prosecutors demanded life in prison in December for all four suspects. Judges are expected to rule by the end of the year.
The flight was shot down amid the conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last month. who got stuck in a war of attrition that forced more than 4 million refugees to flee the country and sparked an investigation into war crimes at the International Criminal Court.
Earlier this month, the Dutch and Australian governments launched a lawsuit against Russia at the International Civil Aviation Organization which seeks to hold Moscow accountable for its alleged role in the downfall of MH17.