A Russian suspect in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has said he feels “a moral responsibility” for the deaths of 298 people but refused to admit to downing the passenger jet, Britain’s The Times newspaper reported Wednesday.
Igor Girkin, 49, is one of three Russian suspects who, along with one Ukrainian suspect, are accused by a Dutch-led investigation of shooting down MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, during the war between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev. None of the defendants, who are also charged with murdering MH17's passengers, are expected to attend their trial in the Netherlands, which has been suspended until June.
“In as much as I was the commander of the rebels and a participant in the conflict, I feel a moral responsibility for these deaths,” Girkin told The Times.
Girkin, a Russian army veteran and ex-Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, was adamant that the pro-Russian separatists under his command “did not bring down the plane.”