Relatives of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 passengers and crew members have accused Russia of lying about its suspected participation in the plane's downing, which killed 298 people.

The passenger jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a missile launched by pro-Russian militants, according to international investigators. However, Moscow denies any involvement. On Monday, family members began testifying in the murder trial of four suspects in the Netherlands.

Over the next three weeks, hundreds of relatives will be allowed to speak or submit written statements. On July 17, 2014, MH17 was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a Russian surface-to-air missile launched from a Russian base close beyond the Ukrainian border, according to international investigators and prosecutors.

MH17 airplane crash victims' families speak against Russia

Van der Steen spoke in Russian about lying, adding that she did so for the advantage of people who are listening in on behalf of the Russian state today. Russia has refused to extradite the accused, claiming that it has not supported or backed insurgents battling Ukrainian government forces.

The family is permitted under Dutch law to make a victim impact statement to the court without being questioned. Over the following three weeks, more than 90 people intend to do so, with some speaking via live video links from neighboring nations, as per Daily Mail.

The trial began in March 2020 and went through a protracted sequence of preliminary hearings before attorneys started debating the case's merits in June. The complicated case is anticipated to go on into the next year.

Prosecutors accused four suspects - Russians Sergey Dubinskiy, Igor Girkin, and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko - of numerous counts of murder for their suspected role in shooting down the airplane after a years-long international investigation.

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Trial expected to reach a decision in late 2022

Per SCMP, three Russians and a Ukrainian citizen are on trial for murder, all of whom are accused of playing important roles in separatist forces. A team of international investigators determined in May 2018 that the launcher used to fire the missile belonged to Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.

For the last year and a half, the fugitive suspects have been on trial. Because only one party sends attorneys to defend him, the matter is not completely tried in his absence under Dutch law. On Monday, judges said they anticipate deciding in late 2022.

Vanessa Rizk, whose parents were passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration for the political catastrophe that led to the accident in 2014. Hundreds of relatives will be allowed to speak or submit written testimonies over the next three weeks, beginning with the Dutch woman. She stressed that her parents played no part in the politics that led to their murders.

For the last year and a half, the fugitive suspects have been on trial. Because only one party sends attorneys to defend him, the matter is not completely tried in his absence under Dutch law, SBS reported. Investigators urged Russians to come forward with knowledge regarding the missile's deployment, which they believe brought down the aircraft.

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