SYDNEY — Australia has imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on three men involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Ukraine in 2014, the business minister announced on Saturday. Foreigners Penny Wong.
MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile system while flying over eastern Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew, including 196 Dutch citizens and 38 Australian citizens or residents.
In November, a Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader in absentia for their role in the incident, and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
Wong said the sanctions announced on Saturday targeted Sergey Dubinskiy and Leonid Kharchenko, two of those convicted by the Dutch court last year.
The third man targeted was Sergey Muchkaev, a colonel in the Russian armed forces who commanded the brigade that provided the missile system responsible for shooting down the plane, Wong said.
She said Australia had already sanctioned another man convicted of destroying the plane, Igor Girkin, for his involvement in supporting separatism in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
“These sanctions demonstrate the Australian government’s continued commitment to holding accountable those responsible for the downing of flight MH17,” Wong said in a statement.
“Australia is unwavering in its commitment to seek truth, justice and accountability for the victims of the downing of flight MH17.”
In February, Australia acknowledged a decision by international prosecutors to suspend their investigation into MH17 after finding “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had approved the use of the missile system that shot down the plane.
However, prosecutors said the evidence implicated by Putin and other Russian officials was not conclusive enough to lead to a criminal conviction.
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