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Dutch prosecutors to demand sentences for MH17 suspects

Dutch prosecutors will this week set out their sentencing demands for four men on trial in absentia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in war-torn Ukraine in 2014.

Prosecutors will also formally present the indictment during three days of hearings from Monday, charging the men with the murders of all 298 people on the Boeing 777.

A verdict at the high-security court, near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport where MH17 took off on its doomed flight to Kuala Lumpur, is not expected until late 2022 at the earliest.

The hearings come as fresh tensions soar over Ukraine, with the West accusing Moscow of planning an invasion.

Bodies of victims, some of them still strapped into their seats, were strewn across sunflower fields along with the white, red and blue wreckage of the plane.

Dubinsky, 57, who has also been linked with Russian intelligence, allegedly served as the separatists’ military intelligence chief.

Kharchenko, 48, allegedly led a separatist unit in eastern Ukraine.

Pulatov is the only suspect to be represented by lawyers. 

The sentencing demand is expected to follow on Wednesday and will include an “extensive justification of the requested penalty”, the spokesperson said.

The trial heard harrowing testimony from relatives earlier this year, who spoke of the heartbreak of the loss of children, parents and siblings, and called on “corrupt” Russia to provide justice.

Western nations imposed tough sanctions on Russia amid international outrage over the shooting down of flight MH17.

Moscow denies the claims, with President Vladimir Putin seeking talks with US counterpart Joe Biden and security guarantees to stand down his troops.

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