Russia has announced its withdrawal from the dispute with Australia and the Netherlands at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council in the MH17 case. This was reported to TASS by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova.

Previously, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had stated that Moscow was suspending its participation in the ongoing dispute at the ICAO Council with Australia and the Netherlands over the downing of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777, which was operating flight MH17 in 2014.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, operating flight MH-17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, resulting in the deaths of 298 people from ten countries.

The criminal case about the downing was tried by the District Court of The Hague. In November 2022, the court found three people guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment in absentia – the former leader of the militants of the PRD, the Donetsk People’s Republic: Igor Girkin (Strelkov) and his subordinates Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko.

The fourth accused, Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted due to lack of sufficient evidence of involvement in the incident. Russian authorities have repeatedly expressed suspicion about the results of the investigation group’s work, pointing out the lack of foundation for the prosecution’s arguments and the reluctance to use Moscow’s conclusions during the investigation.

Independent investigations have shown various photographic evidence showing a Buk missile launcher crossing the Russian border days before the shootdown, and returning through the same place days after the Boeing was shot down. Audios of PRD and Russian officials also show that military personnel under Moscow’s command knew that a civilian aircraft had been shot down after a misinterpretation of radar data.

Moscow has always claimed that the shootdown was carried out by Ukrainian troops, but has never presented clear evidence to support these accusations.

The withdrawal of Russia from the ongoing dispute at the ICAO Council raises questions about the country’s stance on accountability for the downing of MH17. The decision to suspend participation in the proceedings with Australia and the Netherlands may have diplomatic implications and impact future investigations into the tragedy.

It remains to be seen how this development will affect international efforts to hold those responsible for the downing of flight MH17 accountable and bring justice to the victims and their families.