Australia imposes sanctions against Russian-backed soldiers over downing of MH17
Australia is planning to impose new sanctions against three pro-Russian troops for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Donbas.
Two Russians and a Ukrainian were convicted of murder last year by the Hague court, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Sanctions will be imposed on two pro-Russian soldiers found guilty of shooting down MH17, as well as a Russian army colonel. They will also be banned from traveling to Australia.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong will officially announce the sanctions and travel ban on Saturday after working closely with the Netherlands and the European Union.
The new sanctions imposed by Australia target two of the convicted men, Sergey Dubinsky and Leonid Kharchenko. The government has also imposed sanctions on Sergey Muchkaev, a colonel with the Russian Armed Forces and the commander of the anti-aircraft missile brigade that supplied the missile.
The Hague Court tried them in absentia, and they are still at large. They were found guilty of 298 counts of murder and "unlawfully causing an aircraft to crash."
The court ruled that they had probably chosen the plane by mistake, believing it to be a military aircraft, but that this did not detract from their intention to shoot down the plane and kill everyone on board.
International prosecutors earlier this year said they found "strong indications" Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the use of a Russian missile system that shot down the plane.
On July 17, 2014, a passenger airliner, flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down in the sky over occupied Donbas.
Investigators found that the plane was shot down by a missile launched from a Buk air defense system belonging to the 53rd Russia's Air Defense Brigade. The Russians transported the missile system to Ukraine, where separatists and militants of the so-called "DPR" used it in battles against the Ukrainian army.
As a result of the disaster, 298 people died. Two-thirds of them were citizens of the Netherlands. Also on board were citizens of Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Philippines, Canada, and New Zealand.