Former anti-aircraft gunner nabbed over MH17 downing

The Boeing 777 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was blown apart by a missile over part of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed rebels on July 17, 2014. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Ukrainian security forces have detained a former anti-aircraft gunner over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, BBC Russia reported.

Volodymyr Tsemakh was detained on June 27, during a sting operation by authorities in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR).

Tsemakh’s lawyer Roman Hontarev and his daughter, who live in DNR, confirmed the arrest, the broadcasting company reported, .

Tsemakh, Hontarev said, was later transported to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

“And on July 29, the Shevchenkivsky district court of Kyiv ruled to detain him for two months. The date of appeal was not defined yet,” BBC Russia reported.

BBC Russia’s report of Tsemakh’s arrest comes barely a month after the Dutch-led Joint Investigating Team (JIT) probing the tragedy named the four suspects it said were responsible for the incident.

They are Igor Girkin, a former colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service; Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov from the Russian Military Intelligence Service, and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian former commander.

International warrants have been issued for the men and a trial is due to begin in the Netherlands on March 9, 2020.

The Boeing 777 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was blown apart by a missile over part of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed rebels on July 17, 2014.

All 298 people on board were killed.

Russia has denied any involvement.