On June 8, the District Court of the Hague resumed hearings in the case of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, crashed in the sky over the eastern Ukraine during flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Over the six years since then, Russian propaganda has spread many false versions of the disaster, hoping to distance itself from involvement in the tragedy and to double back. However, the findings expressed during the court hearings in the Hague completely leveled these efforts. The investigation and prosecutors consequentially, step by step, restored the scenario of the events and reasonably refuted the main myths of Russian propaganda.

Here are just a few of them. The first: the tragedy was caused by the on board explosion. This version was declared void, taking into account the nature of the damage which clearly indicates that the explosion was outside, near the cockpit. The second: Boeing MH17 was shot down by a fighter of the armed forces of Ukraine. This version has circulated for a long time in the Russian media with even “evidence” of the involvement of the Ukrainian military cited by the Russian officials. However, their main argument turned out to be fake data taken from military radars, which showed allegedly a military aircraft near a civilian airliner. There were even “witnesses” who saw a Ukrainian plane near the Boeing MH17. Despite that, the version about witnesses was cast aside immediately, because without special surveillance facilities a person is simply unable to see what is happening at an altitude of about 10 kilometers. Genuine recordings of negotiations between Ukrainian and Russian operators were also presented at the court session, evidencing no other aircraft was recorded at the time of the tragedy near Boeing.

The third myth: МН17 flight was shot down by the Ukrainian Buk air defense system. The Russians mentioned satellite imagery as an “evidence” with allegedly recorded Ukrainian air defense system on them. However, the pictures disclosed by the Russian side turned out to be fake. The same fake were the documents that allegedly confirmed the “Ukrainian origin” of the rocket that shot down the airliner. As a result, the Russians became entangled in their own “evidence”, which clearly contradicted each other.

At the same time, investigators presented the irrefutable evidence to the court of the involvement of Russia and the militants controlled by it in the tragedy that claimed the lives of 298 people. The investigation established that the airliner was shot down by a missile fired from the Buk M1 surface-to-air missile system, in service with the Russian 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade, based near the city of Kursk.

Investigators restored the entire route of the Russian “Buk” and even the phone numbers of the people who accompanied it. Documents were submitted to the court with a detailed description of secret satellite images of the launch of a Russian missile targeted at MH17, from territory controlled by pro-Russian militants. Unique fragments (“tile”, “lattice” and “butterfly” shaped) were found in the bodies of the dead and in the aircraft wreckage and the conclusion was made that they belong to a new type of Russian missile 9M38M1.

An indictment was brought against four defendants, three of them are Russian citizens hiding in Russia. The very this fact speaks volumes. However, it is clear that these people are no more than performers. The role of the top Russian political and military leadership, which is the real culprit in the tragedy, fall beyond the trial. Obviously, the Russian president did not personally press the launch button of the ill-fated rocket. However, that were his orders in 2014 that marked the start of hostilities in the east of Ukraine, and following his orders they became increasingly widespread and intense. It was the order of the top Russian authorities that broke a path for the deadly car that shot down a civilian aircraft to pass the Russian-Ukrainian border and appear at the disposal of militants.

In fact, for the first time at such a high level the Hague trial has revealed numerous facts confirming Russia’s direct participation in the war in the eastern Ukraine, where citizens of other states fell the victims of the fatal contingency.

After the prosecution filed its arguments, the hearings were suspended until June 22. The process will be resumed with a defense statement. And only after that the court will proceed to examine the whole of the evidence, call witnesses and resolve the case.

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