Russia calls Ukraine’s MH17 accusations at World Court ‘fiction’

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A lawyer for Russia on Wednesday dismissed Ukraine’s account of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in World Court hearings earlier this week as “fiction.”

Ukraine accuses Russia before the UN’s top court of violating a UN anti-terrorism treaty by equipping and funding pro-Russian forces, including militias who shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, killing all 298 passengers and crew in July 2014.

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Last November, a Dutch court found that Russia had “overall control” over the separatist forces and had supplied the BUK missile system which was used by militias to shoot down the plane.

Ukraine repeated the Dutch court findings in its case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), but Russia’s lawyer Michael Swainston dismissed it as “fiction.”

“This did not happen, no BUK Telar came from Russia,” he told the court on the final day of hearings.

In its case at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, Kyiv also claims Russia breached a UN anti-discrimination treaty by trying to erase the culture of ethnic Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

In its final submissions on Monday, Ukraine asked the ICJ to find Moscow guilty of breaching its treaty obligations and order it to pay reparations.

Russia denies systematic human rights abuses in Ukrainian territory that it occupies. It also says it has met its obligations under the UN treaty against financing terrorism.

It has asked the court to throw out Ukraine’s claim which stems from 2017 and was filed well before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The ICJ is expected to rule on the case before the end of this year.

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