Separatist commander who may be valuable witness in MH17 case taken to Kyiv

In late June, Ukraine’s special services carried out an operation in the territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists and detained Vladimir Tsemakh, a former air defense commander in the town of Snizhne, BBC reports.

Tsemakh may happen to be a valuable witness in the case of downing MH17 in July 2014 over eastern Ukraine, including Snizhne.

The Ukrainians conducted the operation in the deep rear. The former militant was detained in his flat in Snizhne on June, 27. Then the agents got him across the front line to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian army. On June 29, a Kyiv court ordered to arrest Tsemakh for two months. He was charged Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (establishing a terrorist group or terrorist organization).

His daughter Maria Tsemakh puts it down to the fact that in 2014 her father was the air defense commander in Snizhne, as the Boeing was brought down not far from it. Her father was not a ‘key figure’ and had nothing to do with the tragedy, she told BBC.

The Ukrainian authorities have not yet made any statements regarding the detention.

The MH17 flight was shot down in the sky over Donbas on 17 July 2014. The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. There were 298 people on board. They were all killed. The Netherlands and Australia officially consider Russia guilty of the tragedy.

In 2018, representatives of the Joint Investigation Team stated that the BUK anti-missile system used to shoot down the passenger plane belonged to the Russian armed forces. According to the investigation, The BUK was in service with the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in Kursk.

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