The Catch-up: Are these the men who brought down MH17?

What happened?

Four men have been charged with murder over the downing of flight MH17, which killed 298 people. The plane was shot down over Eastern Ukraine in July 2014 with all passengers and crew on board the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur losing their lives. A missile shattered the Boeing 777 in midair sending debris and bodies raining down onto farms and fields of sunflowers. The trial of the men, three Russians and one Ukrainian will take place in the Netherlands, though there are no plans to apply for their extradition meaning they are extremely unlikely to attend.

Who are the suspects?

Dutch police identified Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, along with Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, as suspects. All of them are believed to be members of Russian-backed separatist groups. Girkin, a Russian national, was a military chief of the Russia-backed rebels in the area at the time and was named by the investigators as one of the key suspects.

Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine operating during the conflict in the country have been suspected of carrying out the attack, although Vladimir Putin's government has denied any involvement. The accused did not push the button themselves but were responsible for bringing the anti-aircraft system to eastern Ukraine. They could therefore be held criminally liable charged with murdering 298 people, investigators said.

Read more:

Russia hits out at 'groundless' murder charges over downing of MH17 (Sky News)

Father of Briton killed on MH17 says prosecution of four men could bring closure (Evening Standard)

MH17 suspects charged with murder over over 298 deaths will likely escape justice (The Independent)

MH17: the four Russian-backed separatists named as suspects (The Guardian)

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