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On Monday, the first substantive hearing in the criminal trial against four men suspected of involvement in the downing of flight MH17 will be held in the high-security court at Schiphol. It seems unlikely that any of the suspects will appear for the hearing. Only one – Oleg Pulatov – appointed lawyers to represent him and said that he was willing to testify.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. All 298 people on board were killed, including 196 Dutch people. Multiple investigations showed that MH17 was shot down with a BUK missile system from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, fired from a field in eastern Ukraine that was in the hands of pro-Russian separatists at the time.

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