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Netherlands holds Russia liable for $180 million in costs related to MH17 downing

by Elsa Court February 29, 2024 3:12 PM 2 min read
Lawyers attend the judges' inspection of the reconstruction of the MH17 wreckage, as part of the murder trial ahead of the beginning of a critical stage in Reijen, Netherlands, on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Piroschka van de Wouw - Pool/Getty Images)
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The Netherlands has spent at least 166 million euros ($179.8 million) on costs related to the downing of MH17, for which it holds Russia liable, according to a report by the Dutch General Audit Chamber (ARK) published on Feb. 29.

All 298 people on board, including 80 children, were killed when Russian proxy forces used a BUK missile system to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines flight above Donetsk Oblast on July 17, 2014.

The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and Dutch citizens made up 196 of the passengers on board.

According to the ARK report, the Dutch government spent 8.6 million euros ($9.3 million) on crisis management, 22.6 million euros ($24.5 million) on repatriation of the bodies, and 9 million euros ($9.7 million) on the identification of the victims by the police and the Dutch Forensic Institute.

The most significant sum was the investigation, which cost the Dutch government 53.3 million euros ($57.7 million), followed by the criminal prosecution and trial, which cost 34.1 million euros ($36.9 million).

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Two Russian nationals, Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, were found guilty of shooting down MH17 at a Hague District Court in November 2022.

The trial began in March 2020, and the suspects were tried in absentia.

The Dutch government spent 8.1 million euros ($8.8 million) on commemorating the victims and 800,000 euros ($866,300) on caring for surviving relatives.

Other costs related to archiving information on MH17, deploying diplomats for international procedures, and research, the ARK said.

The ARK calculated costs incurred by the Dutch government from the day of the downing to the end of 2022. More costs have been incurred since 2023 "and are expected to continue in the near future."

The Netherlands and Australia plan to use the report in a procedure at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to hold Russia "liable for all costs arising from the attack."

"It is still unknown when a decision will be made in that procedure," the report noted.

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