Suspect claims no involvement in MH17 downing, willing to give statement
Oleg Pulatov, one of the first four men to be on trial for suspected involvement in the downing of flight MH17, claims that he had no knowledge whatsoever about the Malaysia Airlines flight being shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. He is willing to make a statement about the disaster, he said in a personal conversation with his lawyers, one of the lawyers Sabine ten Doesschate said in the court of The Hague on Monday, NU.nl reports.
Ten Doesschate told the court that she and her colleague Boudewijn van Eijck finally managed to go to Russia and personally meet with their client for the first time. The lawyer said that their conversations with Pulatov "led to many new insights" on how "certain facts should be interpreted differently from how the Joint Investigation Team did". There are inaccuracies in the file and the file is incomplete, she said.
Pulatov said that he had nothing to do with "ordering, monitoring, hiding and transporting the BUK rocket", the lawyer said. He also said that he was not involved in firing the missile. According to Ten Doesschate, Pulatov told them that after the MH17 disaster, he saw pieces of the plane and the bodies of victims "and found this terrible."
The man said that he was willing to make a statement in court, but his lawyers advised against this because he will be immediately arrested. "That is why we have to determine a moment and a way in which he can tell his story," Ten Doesschate said on Monday.
According to the Public Prosecution Service, Pulatov played an active role in guarding the site from which the BUK missile was fired at the Boeing 777, crashing the plane and killing all 298 people on board. The Prosecutor said there is evidence of this on tapped conversations. Among other things, one of the other suspects, Sergey Dubinskiy, can be heard telling Pulatov that a BUK missile was on its way. On the day of the disaster, Pulatov can also be heard saying that a Ukrainian military plane had been downed. The authorities believe he mistook MH17 for a military plane.
Pulatov's lawyers do not deny that their client can be heard on these recordings. But according to them, the question is how these soundbites should be interpreted.