News World Authorities to reveal suspects in downing of MH17 flight

Authorities to reveal suspects in downing of MH17 flight

mh17 families settlement
One of the prisoners being swapped is implicated in the downing of MH17. Photo: Getty
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Authorities have reportedly written to families of the 298 people killed on the downed MH17 flight, promising a breakthrough in the investigation.

Dutch media report that criminal proceedings against the suspects will be announced next week, almost five years since the plane was shot out of the sky over Ukraine.

Among the victims were 38 Australians, one New Zealander, 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysians and 12 Indonesians as well as 10 British passengers.

Russia blames Ukraine for launching a missile at the Malaysian Airlines flight as it passed over eastern Ukraine while flying from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

But last year Australia and the Netherlands concluded there was direct Russian involvement which Russia denies.

Dutch prosecutors have announced an international investigation team – which includes Australians – would present its latest findings to media and families on June 19.

However, a spokesman for the national Dutch prosecution service declined to specify what would be announced.

The apparent breakthrough comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the devastating crash on July 17, 2014.

Earlier this week, Australian couple Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris (Rin), who lost their three children Mo, 12, Evie, 10, Otis, 8, and the children’s grandfather Nick, described that horrific date as “when the world ended”.

The Maslin children Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis, 8, and their grandfather Nick were among 38 Australians killed on MH17. Photo: AAP

Speaking for the first time, the Perth couple told Australian Story the birth of their fourth child had brought a “tiny amount of peace” back to their lives.

“Our world as we knew it was absolutely over in that moment and we just started to say, ‘when the world ended’ and that’s how we refer to it now,” Ms Norris told the program.

“Where we were was hell.”

They wanted to share their story to show how they had moved from a place of hell to a place of strength.

Citing anonymous sources, broadcaster RTL has reported that the Dutch public prosecution service will launch a case against several MH17 suspects.

National public broadcaster NOS also reported that criminal proceedings would be announced against individual suspects.

No suspects were named in the reports.

An armed pro-Russian separatist standing guard near a piece of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 after it was shot down on July 17, 2014. Photo: Getty

The Joint Investigation Team, which seeks to try the suspects under Dutch law, has said the missile system came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk.

Investigators had said their next step would be to identify individual culprits and to attempt to put them on trial.

Dutch officials have said Russia has refused to cooperate. The Russians are not expected to surrender any potential suspects who may be on its territory and authorities have said individuals could be tried in absentia.

The Joint Investigation Team was formed in 2014 by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine to investigate collaboratively.

The Netherlands and Australia hold Russia legally responsible.

Moscow denies all involvement and maintains that it does not support, financially or with equipment, pro-Russian rebels fighting Ukrainian government troops.

-with AAP