Russia takes Ukraine to European court over MH17 plane crash

Wreckage from the shot-down MH17 flight, which left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur. [Denis Kornilov/Shutterstock]

Russia said Thursday (22 July) it had filed a complaint against Ukraine with the European Court of Human Rights, blaming Kyiv for the 2014 crash of a Malaysian airliner and civilian deaths in Russia and Ukraine.

Russia has sent the Strasbourg-based court an “inter-state complaint against Ukraine in accordance with Article 33 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,” the prosecutor general’s office said in a statement.

The Russian prosecutors unfurled a litany of Ukraine’s alleged transgressions, blaming Kyiv authorities for civilian deaths during a popular uprising in 2014 and a conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Moscow also said that shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces had killed and wounded people in southern Russia.

“Ukraine’s armed forces are carrying out hostilities that pose a real threat to the life and health of Russian citizens who live in border regions, and force thousands of Ukrainian citizens to seek refuge in Russia,” the statement said.

In the complaint, Moscow blamed Ukrainian authorities for the deaths of 298 people aboard a Boeing 777 which was taken out of the sky by a ground-air missile system in July 2014, saying Kyiv refused to close airspace over war-torn eastern Ukraine.

An international investigation concluded that the BUK missile that shot down the plane had originally come from the Russian army’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade based in the city of Kursk.

The Russian prosecutors accused Kyiv of discriminating against Russian speakers and companies as well as cutting freshwater supplies to Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Ties between Ukraine and Russia were shredded after Kyiv’s 2014 pro-Western uprising that ousted a Kremlin-backed regime.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Moscow of sending troops and weapons across the border to support Ukraine’s separatists.

After a largely respected truce in the second half of 2020, tensions have risen again this year, especially after Moscow deployed around 100,000 troops to Ukraine’s borders in the spring.

Ukraine too has taken Russia to the Strasbourg court over a range of issues, including the downing of MH17.

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