Four senior pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine at the time of the MH17 crash, including one of their most well-known warlords, were named by the international team of investigators as suspects in this tragedy.
– Igor Guirkine –
With Igor Guirkine, the investigators are targeting one of the main separatist commanders of the beginning of the conflict with the Ukrainian army five years ago, and probably their most media representative at the time.
Known by his war name “Strelkov” (“Shooter”), this 48-year-old Russian is a former colonel of the FSB (Russian intelligence services, ex-KGB). It organizes the first armed militias with volunteers from Russia and Crimea since the beginning of the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Armed with his experience in the Chechen and Yugoslav wars, he later became head of the separatist forces as defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic.
He organized the defense of Slaviansk, an emblematic bastion of the separatists, finally abandoned to Ukrainian forces in early July 2014. The MH17 flight was shot down less than two weeks later.
He was removed from office in August 2014 in mysterious conditions and returned to Russia, where he lost all influence and reported financial difficulties.
Reacting Wednesday to the revelations of the investigators, he again denied any involvement of the separatists and indicated that he did not intend to testify.
It is already the subject of a complaint filed in 2015 in the United States by relatives of passengers who died in the crash of flight MH17.
– Sergei Doubinsky –
Nicknamed among other pseudonyms, “Khmoury” (“Morne” in Russian), the Russian Sergueï Doubinski, 56, is a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the first Chechen war, where he would have become acquainted with Igor Guirkine, also cited as one of the alleged perpetrators of the crash.
Also using the name of Sergei Petrovsky, it was allegedly during the destruction of the plane of Malaysia Airlines the head of military intelligence separatists of the self-proclaimed Republic of Donetsk. He would also be linked to Russian military intelligence, the GRU, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
According to the Bellingcat investigation site, it was he who had asked for the delivery of the BUK anti-aircraft defense system to Russia in order to support the separatist forces on the front. He personally supervised his transport to Ukraine and his return to Russia after the tragedy.
He reportedly left the separatist territories in 2015 and now resides in a country house in the Rostov-on-Don region in southern Russia, not far from the Ukrainian border, according to Bellingcat.
– Oleg Poulatov –
Nicknamed “Guiourza” (“Viper”), the Russian Oleg Poulatov, 52, is a former officer of the Russian armed forces. In the summer of 2014, he was one of Sergei Doubinski’s deputies in the military intelligence of the separatists. He allegedly helped to transport the BUK system in Ukraine and, after the crash, to ensure the safety of the area where the MH17 debris fell.
According to the group of Ukrainian activists Myrotvorets, he currently resides in Russia.
– Leonid Khartchenko –
Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko, nicknamed “Krot” (“Taupe”), 47, is also linked to the intelligence services of the separatists at the time of the destruction of flight MH17. It helps transport and evacuate, after the crash, the BUK system.
He is wanted by the Ukrainian courts for his participation in the conflict on the separatist side.
In an interview published in 2015 by the rebel news agency, he described the Kyiv authorities as a “fascist regime” built on a “Nazi” ideology.
According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Leonid Khartchenko is currently in the territories under the control of separatists in eastern Ukraine.