A Dutch court has sentenced three men associated with Russian security services to life in prison for shooting down a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
The court ruled that a BUK anti-aircraft missile supplied by the Russian army to separatist forces shot down Malaysia Airlines MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. The court further ruled that Russia is responsible for the war situation that then and still prevails in eastern Ukraine.
The judges also emphasized the Kremlin's role in the crash in their verdict - the Kremlin armed separatists in eastern Ukraine and incited their uprising - and emphasized Russia's responsibility for the tragedy against the backdrop of the current war.
The judges found two Russians – Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia's Federal Security Service, and Sergei Dubinsky, a former Russian military intelligence officer – guilty of murder and shooting down a plane.
A Ukrainian citizen, Leonid Kharchenko, who led a Russian-backed separatist military unit, was convicted on the same charges. A fourth defendant, Oleg Pulatov, also a former Russian military intelligence officer, was acquitted because he was not considered sufficiently involved in the episode.
Some families of the victims say that the West's failure to punish Moscow for the attack and the civil war it provoked is partly responsible for the current invasion of Ukraine and Russia's war crimes.
Thursday's verdict provided an absolute measure of justice for the victims' relatives, as the three convicted men are believed to be in Russia or in the Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine, where they are unlikely to be apprehended.